GoFundMe for two sons of massacre victim raises $3.3m in one day

Brooke Rolfe
·News Reporter
·5-min read

A GoFundMe set up for two sons of a mother who was killed in an Atlanta shooting rampage has raised $3.3 million in just one day.

Hyun Jung Grant, 51, was one of eight people killed by a gunman, who allegedly targeted three massage parlours in Atlanta, in the US state of Georgia, on Tuesday (local time).

Her 22-year-old son, Randy Park, established the fundraiser on Friday, explaining he and his younger brother, Eric, had no family in the United States, and were facing issues with obtaining their mum's body and potentially being kicked out of their home, while also planning a funeral.

Mr Park expressed he didn't have time to grieve the loss of his mum, who he described as his best friend, due to the stress of not knowing how they would afford basic living expenses without her.

Brothers Eric and Randy with their mum, Hyun Jung Grant.
Brothers Eric and Randy pictured with their late mum, Hyun Jung Grant, who was shot dead at work. Source: GoFundMe

"Frankly, I have no time to grieve for long. I will need to figure out the living situation for my brother and I for the next few months, possibly year. As of now I have been advised to move out of my current home within the end of March to save money and find a new place to live," he wrote to the page.

"My biggest priority right now is to put my mother to rest and plan out the funeral but due to some legal complications, I am unable to obtain my mother's body. I don't think I'll be able to figure out this whole situation along with legal matters if given two weeks to move out."

Losing his mum in the attack was something he said "should never happen to anyone".

"She was a single mother who dedicated her whole life to providing for my brother and I. It is only my brother and I in the United States. The rest of my family is in South Korea and are unable to come," Mr Park wrote.

"She was one of my best friends and the strongest influence on who we are today. Losing her has put a new lens on my eyes on the amount of hate that exists in our world."

Atlanta shooting victim's son in shock over GoFundMe generosity

Taking time to grieve his loss sadly was not an option, with the responsibility of caring for his brother now laying solely in his hands.

"As much as I want to grieve and process the reality that she is gone, I have a younger brother to take care of and matters to resolve as a result of this tragedy," he wrote.

Within a matter of hours, his plea for help had attracted attention from thousands of people, many of who donated thousands of dollars to the young siblings.

It didn't take long for his A$25,800 goal to be surpassed, with donations exceeding A$3.3 million in just one day.

Pictured is 22-year-old Randy Park, son of Atlanta shooting victim Hyun Jung Grant.
Randy Park, 22, speaking to a journalist on Friday (local time) following the death of his mother, Hyun Jung Grant. Source: USA TODAY via AAP

In a later update to the page, Mr Park expressed the gratitude he felt for the people who donated, saying he couldn't believe the generous donors existed.

"And to those of you that have donated any amount of money. To put it bluntly, I can't believe you guys exist. People I will probably never meet, hear, nor express my thanks to. This is simply a change in my life. I don't even think I have a proper grasp on how much this is," he wrote.

"I can't help but feel selfish for all the attention this has garnered. Thank you everyone so much. This doesn't represent even a fragment of how I feel. My mother can rest easy knowing I have the support of the world with me."

Five people were shot at Youngs Asian Massage Parlour near Woodstock, 50 kilometres north of Atlanta, authorities said, with four people dying.

The victims were 33-year-old Delaina Ashley Yaun, 54-year-old Paul Andre Michels, 44-year-old Daoyou Feng and 49-year-old Xiaojie Tan.

In Atlanta, three women were shot at Gold Spa, including Mr Park's mum, and another woman was fatally shot at the Aromatherapy Spa across the street.

Accused killer had "sex addiction"

Suspecter shooter Robert Aaron Long, 21, told police Tuesday's attack was not racially motivated.

He claimed to have a "sex addiction" and authorities said he apparently lashed out at what he saw as sources of temptation.

But those statements spurred outrage and widespread scepticism given the locations and that six of the eight victims were women of Asian descent.

Authorities said they did not know if Long went to the massage parlours where the shootings occurred, but he was heading to Florida to attack "some type of porn industry".

"He apparently has an issue, what he considers a sex addiction, and sees these locations as something that allows him to go to these places, and it's a temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate," Cherokee County Sheriff's Captain Jay Baker told reporters on Wednesday.

Baker drew criticism for saying Long had "a really bad day" and "this is what he did".

A Facebook page appearing to belong to Baker promoted a T-shirt with racist language about China and the coronavirus last year.

The Facebook account account was deleted on Wednesday night.

With Associated Press

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