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GoFundMe page for Alton Sterling raises more than $400k in 24 hours

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Photo Courtesy GoFundMe

Photo Courtesy GoFundMe

NEW YORK — An online appeal to raise college funds for the five children of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, man killed early Tuesday by police has surpassed $400,000 in less than a day.

The campaign, posted on the GoFundMe.com website, raised contributions for the family of Alton Sterling from some 14,000 donors in its first 24 hours.

The scholarship campaign was launched by actress-writer Issa Rae, who describes herself on the Gofundme page as “sympathetic and empathetic” to the plight of the family that Sterling has left behind.

If you feel helpless, but want to play a small part in easing the burden of #AltonSterling’s family, consider donating to this scholarship fund for his 15-year-old son (and his other kids).

*ALL* funds raised will go to Alton Sterling’s family.

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating the video-recorded killing of the 37-year-old Sterling, a black man who police say had a gun as he wrestled with two white officers outside a Baton Rouge convenience store. He earned a living selling CDs outside the store.

Sterling was selling CDs early Tuesday outside the Triple S Food Mart in Baton Rouge, officials said, when the homeless man approached him and asked for money.

The man was persistent, and Sterling showed him his gun and told him to leave him alone, the official said, prompting the homeless man to call 911.

A graphic cell phone video of the shooting was shared widely on social media, quickly sparking local outrage and protests, and drawing national attention. Federal authorities have taken charge of the investigation.

Vigils and memorials have spread across the country in reaction to the deadly shooting. Hundreds of mourners, friends and family members of Sterling gathered at the scene of the shooting to pray and protest.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards is planning to attend a prayer vigil Thursday at 6 p.m. with community and faith leaders as well as other elected officials, the governor’s office announced.

Local civic leaders and Sterling’s loved ones have promised to find out what happened.

“I, for one, will not rest,” said Quinyetta McMillon, the mother of one of Sterling’s children. “And (I) will not allow y’all to sweep him in the dirt.”