The online community has banded together to support the family of an American soldier slain on Wednesday while trying to buy an iPad from two men he'd met on Craigslist.
In the days following the suspected murder of Iraq war veteran and Indiana National Guardsman Jim Vester, 32, who was killed Wednesday, nearly 1,600 donors have raised over $65,000 for Vester's widow and his 1-year-old son. Most of the donations were for $50 or less.
"Words cannot even begin to express how overwhelmed we are with the response this fundraiser has had," wrote a friend of Vester's wife, Jamie Vester, who helped organize the online campaign. "Humanity is beautiful and the love and support that you all have shown to Jamie and Gavin is indescribable."
Vester is survived by his wife, Jamie, and 1-year-old son Gavin (Story continues below)
The fundraising page also includes hundreds of messages offering love and support, from friends and strangers alike.
Vester, a sergeant first class in the Indiana National Guard who did a tour of Iraq in 2005-2006, was shot dead Wednesday afternoon around 4pm in the parking lot of an apartment complex on Indianapolis's west side. Vester had driven 20 miles from the town of Lizton, Ind., where he lived with his family, in order to buy an iPad as a Christmas present, local Fox affiliate WXIN-TV reports.
"My husband Jim Vester was killed last night while trying to do a Craigslist deal that was obviously a hoax," wrote Jamie Vester on Facebook.
Police believe Vester was killed during a robbery, but friends say the killers didn't take Vester's money or the handgun he was carrying at the time. "The only thing they really took was his life," family friend Sarah Benson told local NBC affiliate WTHR-TV.
Police have arrested two teenage brothers in connection with the murder. Tyron Kincade, 19, and Tyshaun Kincade, 18, are charged with robbery and murder, and are being held without bail at Indianapolis's Marion County Jail.
Vester's funeral and burial with military honors will be held Monday, Dec. 9, at the Cornerstone Christian Church and Brownsburg Cemetery in Brownsburg, Ind.
(hat tip Daily Dot)