By KIRSTIN COLE
pix11.com | @colekirstin
10:47 PM EDT, August 28, 2012
BRENTWOOD, NY and AURORA, CO (PIX11)
Victims of the July 20th Aurora massacre came together today to decry fundraising being done in their loved ones names that is benefitting them on a minute scale, even as local law enforcement is tyring to prepare for any similar attacks.
"We never expected to lose what we lost," said Deirdre Brooks, whose 19 year old son is still recovering from multiple surgeries after James Holmes went on a shooting rampage that left 12 dead at an Aurora, Colorado movie theatre.
For the first time since that tragic night, Colorado families came together in an emotionally charged meeting with the press to express frustration over a victims' relief fund that has given them very little financially, and has excluded them from any decisions in how the money is distributed.
Tom Teves, whose son Alex was murdered, is the spokesperson for the group. "We will continue to fight to deliver 100% of the funds to the victims at the victims' directions.
Although the First Giving website has collected more than $5 million dollars using victims' names and picture, victims families have only received one check for $5,000 each, that after a dozen Colorado non profits were first given large grants--and families began to complain of lack of their input.
Said Teves, "The victims have no voice at all."
A victim whose nephew died elaborated, "There is a lack of communication and a lack of leadership and it needs to be fixed."Survivors told of how they've struggled financially to care for hospitalized survivors facing mounting medical bills with dwindling income as they can't work while caring for loved ones, and being scrutinized when asking for help.
Dierdra Brooks said she was questioned mercilessly by workers from First Giving, that they would ask, "What do you need that money for? What are you going to do with that $5,000?"
Meanwhile, in Suffolk county, police there want to prepare theatre owners for a similar attack.
Inspector Stuart Cameron of the Suffolk County Police Department organized a day long seminar for theatre owners and managers, saying, "People shouldn't think that an attack cannot happen in their area because complacency can lead to a failure to prepare."
Those who manage large crowds in public spaces were quick to see the value in preparation.
Cherry Holmes says more than 50,000 people attend events the Huntington Arts Council put on and she was hoping to do more to keep them safe. "To learn about the cues we might not have paid attanetion to in the past, the things that we need to alert authorities to."
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