BRADENTON -- In the aftermath of the triple homicide in Bradenton on Thursday, some local community members are making donations to the affected families.
Tim Brister, a pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, set up a GoFundMe page for the families of the victims in Thursday's triple homicide, especially the children who are grieving the loss of a parent. Brister is friends with Dan Sardinas, who worked with James "Tripp" Battle, a 31-year-old pastor at Bayshore Baptist Church.
Battle, 33-year-old Amber Avalos and 46-year-old Denise Potter were killed Thursday. Law enforcement officials are looking for 33-year-old Andres "Andy" Avalos, the husband of Amber Avalos, in connection to the case.
While the families focus on each other, Brister wanted to set up a way for outsiders to provide support.
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"It's simple, tangible and helpful," Brister said.
The online GoFundMe page was set up Thursday night. Brister said the proceeds, minus the cost charged by GoFundMe to set up the account, will be evenly distributed between the three families and is meant to help provide short-term financial relief to the family.
"The last thing you want to think about is how you're going to pay those bills," Brister said. "It's a way for the families to focus on what's most important -- caring for the children and the families."
Amber Avalos worked with Battle at the church as the children's director and Potter was a neighbor of the Avalos family. The Avalos family has six children who attended Manatee County schools and Battle and his wife had two. The Battle children are with their mother.
Four schools, including where the Avalos children attended, were on lockdown as authorities investigated the homicides on Thursday. The six children, who range in ages from 4 to 15, have been moved to a safe house, Amber Avalos' family members said. Only the oldest children were told of their mother's death.
Grief counselors were on hand at King Middle School on Friday, said Steve Valley, a Manatee County School District spokesman. Individual schools request counselors after an incident happens.
"We have a team that goes in and offers grief counseling," Valley said.
Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter