Slain marshal's family to get $335K, NYC foundation says
A nonprofit foundation dedicated to helping the families of first responders killed in the line of duty announced it has collected $235,000 in donations to help pay off the mortgage of slain U.S. Deputy Marshal Christopher David Hill.
That money is in addition to the $100,000 pledged by the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation on Jan. 19. The foundation that day announced it was accepting donations as well.
That means Hill's widow and their two young children will receive a total donation of $335,000 from Tunnel to Towers, according to a foundation news release.
The $235,000 donated since the fundraising campaign began came from all 50 states in the union, as well as from Canada, the release says. The organization did not say how much the Hill family owes on their mortgage.
Not forgotten: Frank Siller, chairman and CEO of Tunnel to Towers, said that the large amount of money raised in such a short time "clearly shows that Americans want (Hill's) widow and children to know his heroism and sacrifice will not be forgotten — and neither will they."
Tunnel to Towers will hold a ceremony with Hill's family members in the near future to acknowledge the donations have paid off the family's mortgage, according to Siller.
"This is one of the fastest responses we've had to raise this amount of money," he told The York Dispatch. "We're very proud of it, and it's going to go a long way."
In addition to paying off the Hills' mortgage, there will be leftover money, Siller said.
Amazed at response: "It's the least we can do ... and thank God we're able to do this," he said, noting that Hill served in the Army before joining the U.S. Marshals Service.
"Goodness will always defeat evil, and the generosity of Americans never ceases to amaze me," Siller said Monday, Jan. 29. "We're very moved as a foundation."
Murdered by fugitive: Hill, a York County resident, was fatally shot in the chest the morning of Jan. 18 as he and fellow members of the U.S. Marshals Service's Fugitive Task Force were serving an arrest warrant at a Harrisburg City home.
Also injured was team member and York City Police Officer Kyle Pitts, who was shot in the elbow, according to York City interim Police Chief Troy Bankert. A bullet also struck a Harrisburg City officer, but his ballistic vest stopped it, according to U.S. Attorney David Freed.
The team went to a home near the corner of 18th and Mulberry streets in Harrisburg that morning to arrest a woman on a warrant related to her terroristic threats case.
But as team members were cuffing her on the first floor, another fugitive — Kevin Sturgis, 31, of Philadelphia — fired on them from the second floor, Freed has said. Sturgis was fatally shot as he later ran out the building's front door, still firing at police, according to Freed.
Honoring heroes: Frank Siller said his family created the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation to honor his brother's sacrifice. Stephen Siller, a New York City firefighter, was killed saving people in the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001.
His shift was over and he was on his way to golf, but he turned around and went back to work after learning of the attack.
At a news conference announcing the fundraising campaign on Jan. 19 in Harrisburg City's government center, Frank Siller said both his brother and slain deputy marshal Hill sacrificed everything for their communities.
Siller praised Hill's work, noting Hill, 45, served in the Army and, later, was part of the marshals service's special operations unit, which he called an elite honor.
"He was involved in so many situations that put his life in danger," Siller said. "What an American hero."
For more information about the foundation, visit tunnel2towers.org.
York City detectives also started a fundraising campaign for Pitts, seeking to collect $5,000 to pay for "the little things," so Pitts' wife and family can focus on his recovery. The detectives said any money raised in excess of the $5,000 will go to Hill's widow and children.
As of Monday, that GoFundMe.com campaign, called the Support Officer Pitts Recovery Fund, had raised $11,315.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.