A mom whose nine-year-old son was shot dead in Chicago last week has defended herself after accusations she used donation funds to buy herself a new car.
Karla Lee's son Tyshawn was lured into an alley on the city's south side on Monday and shot dead over his father's gang ties, police said.
Following his death, a GoFundMe account was set up to raise funds for the boy's funeral. More than $17,000 poured in over four days.
His 26-year-old mom has since bought a 2015 Chrysler 200, sparking outrage online.
One online commenter wrote: "Now I see that the grieving mother bought a new car with the donations? SHAME ON YOU."
But Lee insists she had used her own money after saving up for months, Fox32 reported. She added that her son would have wanted her to be safe and a new car helps.
"Am I afraid for my life? 100 percent I'm afraid for my life," she told the station.
She also slammed criticism in a video posted to Instagram.
"I am so tired of ya’ll social media and ya’ll Facebook people bashing me," she said. "Ya’ll don’t even know me. I was the best mother I was to my son."
The online fundraiser was closed Sunday morning, according to reports.
In the early hours of Sunday, a makeshift memorial for Tyshawn was destroyed by a fire. The fire department said the cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Police believe the child's murder was somehow tied to his father, a convicted felon who they said is involved with a rival gang. The boy's grandmother found his body.
"Tyshawn Lee was murdered in probably the most abhorrent, cowardly, unfathomable crime that I’ve witnessed in 35 years of policing," Chicago Police Superintendent Gary McCarthy said at a news conference on Thursday.
“At this point, we believe that Tyshawn was targeted, lured to this spot and murdered. And we believe that this is the most recent in a series of gang-related, violent events that may go back as far as August, may go back a little farther than that."
The boy's father Pierre Stokes, 25, has not cooperated with investigators, McCarthy said.
No one has been arrested in connection with Tyshawn’s murder. A reward of $54,000 is being offered for information that leads to the killer or killers.
His funeral will be held on Tuesday.