How to help Allen Premium Outlets shooting victims and their families

Hundreds of thousands of dollars are being donated for the Allen Premium Outlets mass shooting victims and their families.

A GoFundMe page for a 6-year-old who lost his family already has nearly $2 million in donations.

Among those who've donated is Allen High School grad and Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray.


Allen Outlets shooting: Kyler Murray donates $15K to boy left orphaned in Texas mall shooting

6-year-old William Cho's mother, father and 3-year-old brother were shot and killed at the Allen Premium Outlets. The family was looking to return clothes that William had just received for his birthday.

But law enforcement officials are warning, if you choose to donate, make sure it's going to the right place.

There’s been a lot of generosity from so many North Texans following the Allen outlet mall mass shooting, but FBI officials are warning that people need to be cautious about where they donate their money.

After the unfathomable shooting, some are leaving flowers, some pray, and some give money, but how can people make sure that money goes to victims? 

"It’s our intention to, you know, help as many people as we can," said Anita Busch, president of Victims First.

Busch knows what it’s like to lose a loved one in a mass shooting. 

Her cousin, Micayla Medek, was killed during the Aurora mass shooting in 2012.

"And we are the families who care because we’ve walked this path and it’s a horrible, horrible grieving process. I’m telling you, it’s awful," Busch said.

Non-profit Victims First, which is recommended by the city of Allen, donates 100% of what it collects directly to victims.

It’s already raised more than $160,000 for Allen victims through its official GoFundMe.

"And I think that’s really important because you don’t want these funds and you don’t want these donations to go to people who weren’t there, because there is fraud in these situations," Busch explained.

The FBI discussed that fraud at a press conference Tuesday.

"We are aware of multiple fake online fundraisers that are currently underway for the victims. Please properly vet any charity or fundraiser before donating money," said Chad Yarbrough, who is the FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Dallas Field Office.


Allen Outlets shooting victims: What we know

A security guard, an engineer, parents and their young son, two elementary school sisters who loved the color yellow. We are learning more about the people who were killed at the outdoor mall on Saturday.

"People want to give immediately and there are certainly some immediate needs, but what we know from past experience is that the lingering effects of this often are forgotten and unfunded," explained Monica Christopher.

Christopher is senior vice president of Communities Foundation of Texas, a non-profit that is also recommended by city of Allen, which accepts donations that eventually are given to local non-profits working with victims over an extended period of time. 

It’s also already raised more than $100,000.

"And so we are always looking at how dollars that are given charitably can go to the most effective and best use," Christopher said. "You know that we are spending a lot of time really vetting and reviewing these non-profit organizations. We will be following up with them after grants are made."

"Right, you have to verify people," Busch added.

For the families of those who lost their lives in Allen, and survivors traumatized, Busch said the last thing they need is to wonder if much-needed assistance is truly coming their way.

"You have to figure out how to manage and cope with your trauma and everybody’s different," she said.

How to help

A list of approved and verified fundraisers are available on the City of Allen website.

The city says The Allen, TX Shooting Victims' Fund guarantees that families of the victims and those wounded will receive 100% of the funds.

The Support for Allen Fund will give money to local nonprofit agencies that provide mental health grief and trauma support for victims, their families and first responders.