Two Orange County supervisors Wednesday touted a $150,000 fund for victims of a crime spree last week targeting 7-Eleven and other stores across the Southland.
The fund, which was approved by the board on Tuesday, will be managed by the nonprofit Waymakers organization, which oversees support for crime victims for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Board Chairman Doug Chaffee said officials had discussed a reward for the arrest and conviction of suspects in the violent robberies that left three people dead, but authorities took Malik Patt, 20, and Jason Payne, 44, into custody before the board could take action. So then their attention turned toward using county funds to help victims.
“It’s a scary thing,” Chaffee said of the eruption of violence. “These are neighborhood stores where you go to get a cup of coffee and donuts… We cannot undo the damage that has been done, but we’d like to offer some relief.”
Supervisor Katrina Foley said, “Orange County is experiencing an epidemic of gun violence. When will it end?.. We must address this gun violence in Orange County.”
Chaffee said he is ramping up a gun buyback program with local authorities that he will provide more details on in the coming weeks.
Chaffee and Foley praised law enforcement for their quick apprehension of suspects.
Foley said the hope is that the county’s relief fund will be “seed money” that can grow with community support.
“We will make sure the Waymakers fund is up and others can contribute,” Foley said.
Lita Mercado of Waymakers said the organization has already been in contact with many of the victims. The money in the fund is available to Orange County residents and victims, Foley said.
Anyone interested in contributing should visit the Waymakers website, waymakers.org.
Patt and Payne made their first court appearance Tuesday, but their arraignment on various felony counts was delayed until Aug. 18.