Mass shooting victims debating current plan to distribute tragedy funds

Oregon District Shooting

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Monday, the Oregon District Tragedy Fund hosted two public forums to hear feedback from the public.

Several shooting survivors addressed the committee with their questions.

The draft final protocol currently proposes splitting 75 percent of the $3 million raised to the families of the nine deceased victims, 20 percent of the fund to those who stayed in the hospital for more than 48 hours and 5 percent of the fund to those who were treated within 48 hours of the shooting.

Annessa Harris was shot in the arm on August 4 while celebrating her birthday in the Oregon District.

“I have to deal with this for the rest of my life,” said Harris.

Harris and other victims are asking that the committee consider distributing a larger portion of the funds to the surviving victims. They emphasize that they are not asking for it to be distributed equally, but instead more evenly in order to help them recover from the physical and emotional trauma.

“I feel like no one’s life is more important than the next whether dead or alive,” explained Harris. “I just feel like someone is walking around with $250,000 [who] wasn’t there but you want to put me in the 5 percent and give me $3,000 like I don’t have a bullet wound, like I didn’t go through [the shooting], like I wasn’t scared for my life?”

Co-Chair of the Tragedy Fund, Dr. Gary LeRoy says this is not a compensation fund but instead a gift for those who had to endure the unspeakable horrors of a mass shooting. He shared that the committee is working to make the funds available as fairly and quickly as possible.

“When community members or those that were injured or lost loved ones are hurting, they want some results right away. We want to expedite this process as best we can,” said LeRoy.

Another attendee of the forum asked if the Betts family would be eligible to access the fund since Megan Betts, their daughter was one of the nine victims. She shared that she felt it would be an insult to the city and the victims if the family members of the shooter were given access to the funds.

Co-Chair of the tragedy fund, Brother Raymond Fitz said the Betts family would be eligible to apply,

“I think it would be fair because she was a person who was killed in the tragedy and that’s the way we wanted to treat all those people the same way,” said Brother Fitz.

Dr. LeRoy added that an application does not guarantee that an applicant will receive the funds.

A final decision on the final protocol will be made September 24.

According to a timeline, applications will then be made available on October 1 with an expected distribution date of November 18.

The application will be available online on the Dayton Foundations website. Identities of those who do apply will remain private.

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