The mother of a murdered 9-year-old Chicago boy is fighting back against accusations that she used online donations meant for her son’s burial to purchase a new car.
Karla Lee, 26, admitted using the money donated through GoFundMe to buy the car, but said her son would have wanted her to be safe and a car helps, Fox32 reported Saturday.
“Am I afraid for my life? 100 percent I’m afraid for my life,” she told the station.
Following public outrage, Lee said she used her own money that she had saved for months to make the purchase, according to the station.
She also lashed out at her critics in an expletive-filled rant on Instagram.
“This don’t make no sense,” she says in the 60-second video. “I am so tired of ya’ll social media and ya’ll Facebook people bashing me. Ya’ll don’t even know me. I was the best mother I was to my son.”
Her son, Tyshawn Lee, was shot and killed Monday after being lured into an alley on the city’s south side in what police say was an “absolutely hateful” killing motivated by his father’s alleged gang affiliations.
Early Sunday, a makeshift memorial for the boy in the alley was destroyed in a fire, the Chicago Sun-Times reported, according to Fox32.
Firefighters responded to a garage fire about 3 a.m., the Chicago Fire Department said. The memorial, which included several candles, was located next to the garage.
The fire department said the cause of the fire is under investigation.
Lee purchased a 2015 Chrysler 200, WLS-TV reported Sunday. Lee told the station she used her own money to make the down payment.
She told the station the trouble started when the dealership where she bought the car posted her purchase on Facebook without her knowledge. The post has been deleted.
More than $17,000 was raised in four days on a GoFundMe page created by a friend of Lee’s to “help Karla lay her son to rest.”
The online fundraiser was closed Sunday morning, DNAChicago reported.
In another bizarre twist, Tyshawn’s father apparently started another GoFundMe page seeking donations for funeral expenses, the website reported. The page was quickly taken down.
“I understand the mother of my son did wrong by that money, but what the news is not telling, that they are only paying for half the cost of everything," Wooh Gotti, an alias used by Tyshawn's dad Pierre Stokes, wrote, according to DNA.”They are blaming us so they don't have to pay the full cost of everything. She is in the wrong for doing what she did with the money for our son, just give me a chance to lay my son to rest the right way."
DNA reported that Stokes’ appeal sought $2,500 and the fundraising page also was selling Tyshawn memorial T-shirts for $25-$45.
A police spokesman told FoxNews.com Friday that Stokes potentially knows who killed his son, but has refused to cooperate with detectives.
A reward of $54,000 is being offered for information that leads to the boy’s killer or killers.
Lee is hoping her son’s murder will be solved.
“Step up, break this code of silence or whatever ya'll got going on with this gang stuff. Break that. Put the guns down,” she told Fox 32. “Ya'll killing babies out here.”
Tyshawn's funeral is Tuesday.