Amber Roof, the older sister of Charleston shooter Dylann Roof, drew criticism earlier this week after she set up a GoFundMePage to recoup losses she and her fiance, Michael Tyo, sustained after postponing their wedding last month.
The two were set to be married in Charleston on June 21 but opted to postpone the event after Roof opened fire Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, killing nine in, what authorities, are calling a hate crime.
The decision to try and crowd-fund her rescheduled wedding drew ire from media and social media alike with many calling the move insensitive despite claims that she would donate 10% of the funds raised to Emanuel AME.
Here’s what you need to know about Roof and her now defunct GoFundMe Page:
1. Amber Roof Postponed Her June 21 Wedding After the Emanuel AME Massacre
Roof was scheduled to marry Michael Tyo, a U.S. Army Reserve Recruiter, at the Mitchell House and Gardens in Lexington, South Carolina but opted to postpone the event after her brother had been identified as the shooter in the Emanuel AME church massacre just days before.
The Roof family released a statement, via his public defender, following the horrific events:
Words cannot express our shock, grief and disbelief as to what happened that night. We are devastated and saddened by what occurred. We offer our prayers sympathy for all of those impacted by these events.”
Roof and Tyo were listed on a wedding registry site through The Knot and had registered for gifts at Target and Kohl’s.
2. The GoFundMePage Was an Attempt to Cover Lost Wedding Costs & Finance a Honeymoon
Roof first posted the GoFundMe page earlier this week looking to make a “fresh start” with her fiance, Michael Tyo, after postponing their wedding last month.
She wrote on the page:
As many of you know Michael and I had to abruptly cancel our wedding day, due to the tragedy that occurred in Charleston.
It was suppose [sic] to start our lives together with our new family. Our day was the exact opposite.
Our wedding day was full of sorrow, pain, and shame, tainted by the actions of one man.
Roof added that she and Tyo were no looking for a brand-new wedding but rather to cover the cost of lost deposits, to pay bills and finance a honeymoon.
3. According to FBI Sources, Roof Was the First to Identify Her Brother to Police
After police sent out video surveillance photos of Roof inside Emanuel AME, multiple reports suggested that it was his sister who first called authorities to identify him.
The New York Daily News added that Roof saw her brother’s pictures on TV and immediately alerted authorities of his identity. Michael Tyo, Amber Roof’s fiance, lives three miles from where Dylann Roof was captured in a residential neighborhood outside of Shelby, South Carolina.
4. Roof Removed the Page on Thursday After Intense Backlash
It didn’t take long for social media to find out about Roof’s GoFundMe page and, rather quickly, lambaste it. Roof did not make a statement regarding the removal of the page, but spokespeople from GoFundMe say the page removed by Roof herself. The fundraiser had drawn a mixed bag of comments in the four days it was online.
Rebekah Sanderlin wrote an open letter to Roof on July 2, telling her that the fundraising attempts, while somewhat understandable, were also way too soon. Still, there were some who supported Roof’s fundraising attempts and, somehow, tried to equate their pre-wedding miscuses with the actions of Dylann Roof:
5. The Page Raised Just Over $1,500 Before It Was Removed
Roof’s GoFundMe goal was set at $5,000 and she was able to raise just north of $1,500 before it was taken down. The page lived on the internet for four days with most the donations coming in single digit increments.
The couple had planned on donating 10% of the $5,000 raised to the families of shooting victims but there has been no word on whether or not that will still happen after the early removal of the fundraising site.