A GoFundMe campaign helping a heroic father pay for his medical expenses after shielding his children from gunfire has raised $280K.
Employees at a car dealership in New York ran for safety when a gunman fired shots through the window, but one customer used his body as a shield to protect his three children who were there with him.
Anthony Jefferson, 39, said he was shopping for his wife at the On the Road Auto Group in the Bronx on Monday night.
2020 strikes again!https://t.co/XU9D2qLhSQ
— Bookwyrm 101🇵🇷🏴🇺🇲 Screaming Eagle (@Sandman_Slim101) September 25, 2020
The nightmare began when a couple of gunmen entered the space and started shooting another suspect who returned fire.
“I was trying to surprise my wife for her birthday,” said Jefferson, who sustained injuries but managed to survive.
According to the Daily Dot, Jefferson was shot three times, once in the thigh and twice in his boot. His children, including a two-year-old, survived without injuries.
You can watch the surveillance footage of the incident here.
Warning: contains violent footage.
Jefferson told NBC New York in a phone interview:
“What went through my mind? Get my kids and get low, to safety.”
As the father was struck by raining bullets, he was determined to keep his kids safe.
“It started burning tremendously. I wanted to scream but I couldn’t because I had my kids there.”
Though his kids came out of the incident physically unharmed, the impact of the experience was evident.
“They’re traumatized. My 2-year-old gets up in the middle of the night screaming. It’s heartbreaking.”
What a wonderful father!! It breaks my heart to see that this family was put into harm's way. God was watching over him, if he hadn't jumped to action, one the children would have been hurt/killed when the bullet went through the coach
— FightForFreedom🇨🇱🇺🇲🇺🇸 (@Fight4Free2020) September 23, 2020
This father is a hero! 👏🏻 How sick are you to start shooting in a car dealership with kids around?!? I hope the community helps him and his family out now he lost his jobs😱I know they will because in the USA they always help others when in need! ❤🇺🇸https://t.co/zW664cr6H1
— Lonneke (@LonnekeEngel) September 25, 2020
The NYPD said the motive involving the three gunmen was possibly gang-related.
The terror continued outside the dealership when two of the gunmen ran off and another car-jacked a vehicle with a Georgia license plate.
The target, a gang member doing business inside the luxury used-car dealership, was also shot.
Police are still searching for the three suspects.
Serena Wingate, a close friend of Jefferson, started a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for his medical bills. Jefferson lost painting and construction work that had already dwindled during the pandemic.
People commented on the injustice of Jefferson losing work as a result of being at the wrong place and time.
This is some BS. A father got fired from his two jobs because he's unable to work after having been shot at while trying to protect his children from some gunmen. They won't even mention which companies.https://t.co/NGw3xsMbTk
— Uffe (@UffeVL) September 26, 2020
The job offers are going to pour in now, as they rightfully should be. He did absolutely nothing wrong besides being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He saved his boys. Any respectful employer would have never fired him.
— CARLOS DΞ LA FUΞNTΞS ☬ (@hecxtreme) September 25, 2020
Wingate wrote on the GoFundMe page:
“Due to his injury, Anthony lost his job and has to have surgery to remove the bullet.”
“This Go Fund me is to help this heroic dad with his medical bills and his kids with therapy. They are beyond traumatized.”
If you can't afford to donate, at least share this page. This guy is an absolute hero. Him and his family deserve all the best.
Heroic Dad shields kids from being shot at car https://t.co/cJczC3XIhA
— Bubonny Plague MD (@CynicalLindsey) September 25, 2020
If you can help the family 🙏🏻 if anything pray for them
— Gamer Space Ship Pilot 🗡 (@SpacePiolet) September 27, 2020
As of this writing, donations had reached $286K.
Jefferson expressed his gratitude, saying:
“I truly want to thank everyone for their well wishes and get well soon and praise for my family. I appreciate that from the bottom of my heart.”
When praised for his heroism online, Jefferson remained humble.
“I was just being a father. If my arms would have stretched to everyone, I would have made sure I would have gotten them to safety.”
Spoken like a true hero.