ROCKFORD ‚?? A small community shaken by a murder last month is now trying to collaborate to take care of the victim‚??s son.
Melinda ‚??Mindi‚?Ě Shinn, 26, was shot and killed inside her home Nov. 8 and now a month later, the community is gathering to try and raise funds for her 9-year-old son, Braden.
Len Archibald, who is organizing the benefit, said he didn‚??t know Shinn very well, but he knows everyone in the community knew and loved her and wants to care for her young son.
‚??It‚??s the right thing to do,‚?Ě Archibald said Friday. ‚??Rockford is a tight-knit community and the whole community wanted to put something together to make sure that he doesn‚??t fall through the cracks.‚?Ě
The benefit is at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Rockford Community Building. All benefits from the event will go directly into a trust fund for Braden.
‚??In spite of the tragedy, he‚??s really the one that‚??s been caught in the middle of this whole thing,‚?Ě Archibald said. ‚??The community wants to make sure that no matter what, he has the means to be able to have a firm education. We want him to succeed despite his mother‚??s death.‚?Ě
Not only are they organizing a benefit, Archibald said the community is trying to find different ways to shed light on the problem of domestic violence because Shinn‚??s boyfriend, Daniel C. Martin, 40, is the alleged shooter.
‚??We‚??re trying to find ways, as a community, to put out the word that abuse is not tolerated or accepted,‚?Ě he said. ‚??We see this as one of the worst things that‚??s ever happened here and we want to try to be absolutely sure it will never happen here again.‚?Ě
He said the community is working with the Police Department to set up a self-defense program, as well.
‚??If we‚??re able to educate each other about the perils of domestic violence, then it‚??s one step closer to not having it happen again,‚?Ě he said. ‚??It doesn‚??t just affect women, either. Guys, if they grow up without a father figure, or with an abusive father, the guy think‚??s it‚??s normal.‚?Ě
He said there will be raffles and door prizes from a lot of local vendors at the benefit.
‚??We‚??ll also have lots of things for the kids like inflatable jumping trampolines and games for them to play.‚?Ě
The Mercer County Sheriff‚??s Office is still looking for Martin as a suspect in the murder.
‚??We‚??ve all mourned the loss of her and this is really going to be a celebration among the community,‚?Ě he said. ‚??This is a celebration to show the love we had for her and the love she had for her kids.‚?Ě