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How to help families of West Valley City shooting victims

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Posted at 8:44 PM, Jan 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-25 18:55:16-05

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — Online fundraising campaigns have been set up for the three teenage boys who were shot Thursday in West Valley City. Two of them passed away, while the third is hospitalized in critical condition.

All three boys attended and played football at Hunter High School.

Tivani Lopati, 14, and Paul Tahi, 15, were killed in the shooting. Ephraim Asiata, 15, was critically wounded and was still in the hospital as of the latest update.

GoFundMe pages have been set up to help the victims' families with funeral costs.


A GoFundMe for Ephraim Asiata "is no longer accepting donations," the site said, but it did not say why. However, a friend of the Asiata family is selling merchandise with Ephraim's name and football number to raise money for the family's medical expenses.

Hunter High School Principal Ryan Oaks issued the following statement to the Hunter High School community, which also includes counseling resources for anyone who needs it:

We continue to mourn the loss of Tivani and Paul and we offer our love and support to their parents and siblings, as well as the countless other family and friends affected. We will send out funeral information when dates have been set. Ephraim continues to struggle, but he fights on hour by hour. Please keep Ephraim in your thoughts and prayers.

Parents, you are your child's most important resource and support as they cope with this tragedy. Be aware that your child may also be exposed to rumors or incorrect information regarding this incident from their peers and social media. You may need to correct false information or answer their questions, to the best of your ability. During this time of great loss, you may feel many emotions including sadness, confusion, grief, and possibly anger. The pandemic will make familiar ways of processing and grieving with friends more challenging. It is very important that anyone who is feeling sad or is struggling please reach out for support. The SafeUT app is one resource you can use, which offers 24/7 access to chat with a crisis counselor about how you are feeling.

As you are aware, next week will be Distance Learning at Hunter High School. Our counselors will be available all week to meet with struggling students via email or in person. Students, don't hesitate to come to the school to talk to a counselor to help you deal with this tragedy.

Please know our Hunter High family cares deeply about the safety and wellbeing of all of our students and staff and extend our deepest sympathies to all.

The Granite School District also provided a link to resources for parents on how to talk to their children about tragedies, which can be found on the University of Utah Health website.

The investigation into the shooting is still underway. A 14-year-old boy was booked in connection with the incident. Two other teenagers were initially taken into custody for questioning but were later released. However, West Valley City Police said in a Twitter thread of frequently asked questions that it's still possible they'll be charged as police work with prosecutors to build the case.