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Family of 15-year-old with autism killed by deputy retains attorney, launches GoFundMe

APPLE VALLEY, Calf. ( – Following the deputy-involved shooting that led to the untimely death of 15-year-old Ryan Gainer, the community has come together to support his family both emotionally and financially. A GoFundMe campaign, which has gathered a significant sum exceeding $40,000, aims to alleviate the financial burden of funeral expenses.

The heartfelt plea on the fundraising page conveys the family’s sudden hardship: “We the Gainer family, are humbly asking for your financial support for our dear loved one, Ryan Gainer’s funeral expenses… Ryan was a super intelligent, kind, generous, respectable, thoughtful, funny, goofy, charismatic person, who always saw the good in people… All donations will help cover the cost of the burial and funeral expenses.”

In their quest for answers and justice, the Gainer family has sought legal expertise by partnering with Burris Nisenbaum Curry & Lacy (BNCL). DeWitt Lacy, a distinguished attorney at the firm, will be representing the family’s interests.

Ryan’s death occurred amidst reports of him approaching a deputy with a garden tool during a mental health crisis. Subsequent to these events, the Apple Valley Police Department has provided a comprehensive record of the incident.

Sheriff Shannon Dicus of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department has shared his compassion for all parties affected: “Our social safety net for those experiencing mental illness needs to be strengthened… While these decisions are lawful, they are awful in terms of our humanity. I feel for both Ryan’s family and my deputies who will struggle with this for their entire lives.”

Submitted Video of Ryan Gainer being interviewed on campus.

Adding to the legal discourse, Attorney DeWitt Lacy has brought attention to the key issues surrounding the case: “There are great questions as to whether it was appropriate to use deadly force against a 15-year-old autistic kid who was having an episode.”

As perspectives diverge on the justifiability of the actions taken by law enforcement, the questions raised align with broader concerns around de-escalation tactics, mental health considerations, and the extent of force used in such interactions.

Members of the public wishing to contribute to the Gainer family during this difficult time are encouraged to visit the GoFundMe page and consider making a donation to support the memorial and funeral costs: Support the Gainer Family.

The incident has sparked an essential dialogue about the intersection of mental health issues and law enforcement protocols, with the hope that such tragedies can be prevented in the future.

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