BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - People across the country have been saddened by the tragic death of 8-year-old Royta Giles. He died after being caught in a shooting incident at the Riverchase Galleria.
Financial accounts have been established to help raise money for the family, but a pastor assisting the family told WBRC FOX6 News the family did not know anything about some of these accounts or who may behind them.
If you went to gofundme and looked up Royta Giles you would have at one time found four different accounts seeking donations. “They are shocked. They have been talking about this since Monday,” Pastor David Miller of the CHOSEN Ministries said.
Miller has been supporting the family through their grief over the loss of the young boy.
Miller said no one connected to accounts talked to Royta’s mother, step-father or grandmother about raising money. “We understand people want to help but the reality is sometimes people do things, take advantage of things like this,” Miller said.
Miller said some of the accounts may be an honest effort to help but there are only two fundraising efforts the family is backing. One is by the city of Hoover and the other by Tiphanie Carter, the widow of Birmingham Police officer Sgt. Wytasha Carter.
Miller said it is so hard emotionally on Royta’s family, this does not make it any easier. “A boatload of emotions, but the main thing they want to do at this point is lay him to rest,” Miller said.
Thursday afternoon only one gofundme account was listed.
There will be another vigil Thursday night for Royta.
His funeral is set for Saturday. Hoover has set up an account at IBERIABANK. Miller said they are still working on the fundraising effort by Mrs. Carter.
We asked a gofundme spokeswoman about ways to guarantee if accounts are legitimate. Here is the response:
Our hearts go out to the Giles family affected by this horrific tragedy.
Following a tragedy, people have a deep urge to help and provide comfort to those affected - it’s not uncommon for someone to create a GoFundMe to help another individual after a news report, as in this case. What’s important to know is that funds raised are safely held and will only be released to the Giles family.
It’s helpful to know how a donation ends up getting to a beneficiary. When a campaign is started on behalf of another individual, funds are collected by our payment processors, held, and then released only to the person named as the beneficiary. Before money is transferred to the beneficiary, their banking information is verified by GoFundMe and our payment processor.
In this case, we’ve suspended a few campaigns and reached out to the campaign organizers to better understand the connection between the organizer and the beneficiary of the campaign. Donors will be refunded if we are not able to verify the connection, or if the Giles family chooses not to accept the funds.
It’s also important to know that the platform is backed by the GoFundMe Guarantee, which means funds are guaranteed to go to the right place or donors will get a refund. Here is additional information on the GoFundMe Guarantee: www.gofundme.com/guarantee.