The family of the man allegedly shot by Detroit rapper Proof voiced concern for their safety following a shooting earlier this month.
Police say Keith Bender Jr., 35, died April 18 after being shot by the D12 member at the CCC nightclub on 8 Mile Road.
Proof (born DeShaun Holton) was also killed during the incident, which is still under investigation by authorities.
“We are absolutely terrified for our safety,” said Bender’s aunt, who wasn’t named for fear of retaliation against Bender’s family. “We wanted
to talk to the media long ago, but we were afraid for our lives, therefore we’ve been keeping kind of a low profile.”
The family would like to hold funeral services for Bender, who was a retired Army officer at the time of his death.
Despite a $1,000 donation from Peace in the Hood for the burial and the establishment of the Keith Bender Memorial Fund at Chase Bank, the family is struggling to pay for the service.
The funeral is planned for 10 a.m. Thursday (April 27) at New Galilee Baptist Church, 11241 Gunston in Detroit, with Pastor John Mack of Greater New Hope church officiating.
“We need to embrace this family with our hearts — and now our checkbooks — so that the struggle they are already experiencing is not so severe,” said the Rev. Horace Sheffield, who donated New Galilee Baptist for the service. “We also need to start the healing process so that our community can avoid any more senseless deaths like this one.”
Bender’s aunt, who described her nephew as “personable, jovial, humorous, kind and generous,” believes Bender’s death signifies a need for better policing as well as an end to violence in hip-hop, a
crackdown on illegal guns and more community involvement.
Donations to the fund may be given at any Chase Bank branch.