Sutherland Springs hero lashes out against online campaigns raising money in his name

Stephen Willeford.png

The man who shot a church gunman and chased after him until he crashed released a statement on Thursday morning lashing out against fake online campaigns trying to raise money in his name.

Stephen Willeford is the man credited with stopping a gunman from causing more death following the massacre at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs.

The statement read, "There have been gofundme pages started without Stephen's permission or knowledge. While some of these may be well intended, others are not and neither Stephen nor anyone in his family have received any funds from these websites. Stephen will not accept money out of this tragic scenario. If others want to give by way of money, please give it to the Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church or the families of the victims who lost their lives in this senseless tragedy. The victims were Stephen's neighbors, friends and family-his community."

In the statement, Willeford asks for privacy and says he and his family need time to process the events that thrust him into the spotlight.

Statement from GoFundMe:

"It’s not uncommon for GoFundMe campaigns to be created on behalf of another individual who see a news event and wants to help.
It’s important to understand what happens when a campaign is created on behalf of another individual. When a stranger is simply trying to help someone and does not have a direct connection to the individual they’re raising money for, funds are collected by our payment processors, held, and then released only to the person named as the beneficiary. Before any money can be withdrawn, the beneficiaries must accept the donations. If they accept the donations, their information, including their banking information, will be verified by our payment processor. In this case, because the beneficiary does not want any campaigns on the platform, we have removed the campaigns created on his behalf and refunded the 2 donations."

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