ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- The St. Louis community is rallying behind a volunteer firefighter critically injured after a gunman opened fire inside a St. John's Applebee's last Monday.
According to police, Kimberly Ratliff-Penton, 46, was killed in the shooting, which left two other women injured. One of the women, Arlydia Bufford, 20, has undergone multiple surgeries and remains in stable, but serious condition.
Courtney Demond Washington is the accused shooter and police have not yet found a connection between him and the women shot.
On Sunday, Rebound 911, a non-profit made up of first responders, held a barbecue fundraiser to help Bufford's family offset some of her medical bills. As a volunteer firefighter, she does not have health insurance.
“It was a no-brainer for us to step up and want to be able to help her and her family out as much as we can, so that they don’t have to worry as much about the financial burdens of her medical costs and focus on her recovery," said April Cayce, President and CEO of Rebound 911.
Volunteers handed out hamburgers, hot dogs, brats and pork steak, along with Kinloch Fire Department T-Shirts designed in support of Bufford.
“It’s overwhelming," said Bufford's mom, Rebecca. "I appreciate all of the love, support, the phone calls, visits, texts everything that’s what is keeping me strong.”
Hundreds stopped by the fundraiser to donate toward her recovery. In addition to food and t-shirts, supporters were able to write Bufford notes of encouragement.
“She’s a volunteer firefighter, just starting out," said Mark Middlecamp, who came out to show his support. "There was no reason for that. It was all uncalled for.”
Bufford's family said she continues to improve every day, but admits she has a long road in front of her. Her mother told News 4 she is responding to commands and is considered stable.
“Her being a firefighter I’d expect her to go into a burning building, you know, or a car accident, or something like that but never nothing this traumatic," Rebecca Bufford said.