Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. says the $2.5 million donated after the massacre of nine Black churchgoers will be donated to a memorial fund, according to The Guardian.
Donations came in from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and four foreign countries. They ranged from 50 cents to $100,000, according to city officials. A total of 6,500 people made donations.
Riley said the money will be used to pay for funeral expenses with the rest being distributed to the survivors’ families. According to The Guardian, the money, which is in a trust, will be distributed using a formula devised by a team of lawyers, who donated their services.
The bulk of the money, 55 percent, goes to the families of those who were killed, while 25 percent goes to the five people who survived the shooting carried out by white supremacist Dylann Roof. Roof committed the massacre because he claimed he wanted to stop Black people from taking over the world. He is currently facing state and federal murder charges and federal hate crimes charges. The state is seeking the death penalty.
Online pictures of Roof showed him prominently displaying white supremacist patches on his jacket and the Confederate flag. Roof hoped the shooting would spark a race war, but it has had the opposite effect. Across the South, lawmakers have voted to take down the Confederate flag from state capitols because they don’t want to be associated with the Charleston massacre.
Joey Meek, a high school friend of Roof, is also facing charges for lying to federal authorities and not doing enough to prevent the attack. Roof and Meek had been drinking when Roof said he intended to carry out a shooting. Meek initially took his gun away, but returned it after Roof sobered up.
Some money is being distributed to the victims’ children who are pursuing post-secondary education. The Mother Emanuel Hope Fund is still accepting donations until the end of 2015.