BUFFALO, N.Y. — More than two months have passed since the Buffalo mass shooting, and the effort to provide compassionate compensation for those whose lives were impacted by that terrible event is well underway.
But now executive director Jeff Dion of the National Compassion Fund, which is helping to advise the 27 local leaders of the Buffalo 5/14 Survivors Fund, is telling 2 On Your Side that he is the subject of a death threat.
Dion was in Buffalo on Thursday for a town hall/information session to describe the process and timeline for distribution of $4.7 million to families of the 10 victims who were killed, the injured victims, and others who were impacted by the mass shooting.
That public meeting went on as scheduled at the City Honors school. There was a definite Buffalo Police presence at the meeting, but a city spokesman says that was pre-planned and had no direct connection to the threat made on Thursday.
Dion says he is now being harassed through social media by some posters who are upset that more funding has not been given to those who need it. During the meeting he hoped to explain the process to determine who is eligible and how they should apply and then the timeline.
Dion says they hope to send out all the funding in October.
But now he and the organization are being attacked with various online statements, which are not true. They accuse the National Compassion Fund of holding onto the money in order to make interest on the account, which he says they do not do in any way.
"I've met with families from Buffalo last week and from Uvalde this week, and none of them had any complaints about the timeline and how long it was going to take," Dion said. "There are some rabble rousers on social media who accuse us of stealing the money. We get hundreds of of angry emails. And I get one today that says, You're going to get a bullet between the eyes if you don't give those people that money now.' "
Dion says his organization's headquarters office in Virginia was also threatened with violence back on June 10 with a reference to the Buffalo shooting. He says the staffers worked from home after the FBI was contacted about that incident.
Dion says this latest incident was sent to the FBI as well, as he forwarded the threatening email to an agent who worked on their Virginia case.
Dion says the National Compassion Fund has assisted communities across the country with funding compensation for victims in 23 incidents dating back to the Boston Marathon terrorist bombing attack. But he says this is the first time the organization has ever been threatened in such a manner.