Police in Hamilton, Ont. have issued a warning about an “unauthorized” GoFundMe page purportedly created to help the family of a murdered teenager.
Nineteen-year-old Yosif Al-Hasnawi, who was a first-year medical science student at Brock University, was shot on Dec. 2 after attempting to intervene as two young men accosted a senior citizen in downtown Hamilton. Al-Hasnawi died that night in hospital.
Police, who were tipped off about the “Hamilton Hero Funeral Fundraiser” GoFundMe page by the victim’s family, issued a press release Thursday urging the public not to donate “as it is unknown where the money is actually going.”
The page was created on Dec. 3 and raised at least $1,345 from 36 people. Police say they have notified GoFundMe about the unauthorized nature of the page.
“This matter is now being investigated by the Hamilton Police Service Major Fraud Branch,” the Hamilton Police Service said in their press release.
As of Thursday afternoon, the page was no longer available online.
“We can confirm that GoFundMe suspended the campaign and that we are looking into this,” GoFundMe communications manager Rachel Hollis said in an emailed statement. “Our team is working with law enforcement to assist in the investigation. If the page is indeed fraudulent, all donations will be refunded. If any donors would like to request a refund in the meantime we will process it for them.”
Responding to a request for comment, the person responsible for posting the page said that he is a family friend who only intended to help.
Early Monday morning, a 20-year-old was arrested in connection to the original incident and charged with being an accessory after the fact to murder.
The alleged shooter, 19-year-old Dale Burningsky King, was arrested Thursday afternoon in Hagersville, Ont. King, who was the subject of a Canada-wide warrant, was arrested with a female who is under investigation for accessory after the fact to murder.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
With files from The Canadian Press