Photo: Scott Olson / Staff via Getty Images
  /  01.29.2023

A memorial fund to honor Tyre Nichols and help his parents, RowVaughn and Rodney Wells, heal from his tragic death has reached more than $1 million in donations. The GoFundMe fundraiser was set up almost 48 hours ago.

On Friday (Jan. 27), the Memphis Police Department released footage of him being savagely assaulted to the brink of death by five officers. He died days later due to injuries sustained during the beating. He was 29.

Today (Jan. 29), more than 26,000 people helped to nudge the balance past the million-dollar mark and close to its new goal of $1.2 million. Multiple people generously donated thousands of dollars at a time. On the fund’s page, RowVaughn shared that Nichols was “trying to make it home to be safe in my arms” when he attempted to flee from police less than 100 yards from home.

RowVaughn said her son was “loved by his community and was known to be gentle, kind, and joyful.” The father, who has a 4-year-old son, was known for being the person who, “when he comes through the door, he wants to give you a hug” and “wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

The Bay Area native relocated to Memphis to be with his parents in 2020. On Jan. 7, the night he was stopped by police, he was returning home after indulging in one of his passions: photographing sunsets. RowVaughn said her son had never been in trouble with the law prior to his horrendous run-in with five police officers.

“Not even a parking ticket,” wrote the grieving mother. “He was an honest man, a wonderful son, and kind to everyone. He was quirky and true to himself, and his loss will be felt nationally.”

She added that the funds will be used to build a skate park to combine her son’s love of skating and sunsets. Additionally, the donations will help cover the cost of time away from work as well as mental health services for RowVaughn and Rodney. “My husband and I have had our entire world turned upside down by what happened to our son… We have yet to have the proper space to begin our grieving process, which will be long and burdensome,” she wrote. Click here to donate.

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