A charitable foundation has distributed thousands of dollars to Washington-area sniper victims, the first money distributed to survivors of the shootings and families of those killed during the spree.
Checks for $18,571.43 from the Victims' Rights Foundation were either hand-delivered or mailed over the weekend to the families of 10 people killed and the four people wounded in the region in September and October, said foundation head Gregory Wims.
The foundation raised $260,000 from 2,000 donations. Gifts ranged from a $3.50 money order to $70,000 from an affordable housing charity. Additional money will be raised through Dec. 31.
The funds will help families get through the holidays "without wondering where the mortgage payments are coming from or where the car payments will come from," said Ellen Alexander, a Montgomery County police official who has worked with the sniper victims.
About 15 funds have been established since the sniper attacks, many that specifically help children and other survivors of people who died. The Victims' Rights Foundation and an account set up by Montgomery County are among the few that benefit the victims as a group.
John Muhammad, 41, and John Lee Malvo, 17, are charged with murder in Maryland and Virginia in attacks that left 10 people dead and three others critically wounded in the Washington, D.C., area. They are also charged with an Alabama slaying.