Canadian shoot­ing vic­tim ha­rassed on­line

The Prince George Citizen - - FRONT PAGE - Tif­fany CRAW­FORD Van­cou­ver Sun MATE­JKA

A B.C. man who sur­vived after he was shot in the head in the Las Ve­gas mas­sacre is be­ing tor­mented on­line.

Like many of the vic­tims sad­dled with U.S. med­i­cal bills and un­ex­pected travel costs after the shoot­ing, Braden Mate­jka from Lake Coun­try, near Kelowna, started a GoFundMe cam­paign with a goal of $25,000.

He says on the page that the money will help cover his re­quired time off work and other re­cov­ery costs after be­ing shot in the back of the head.

But things quickly turned hate­ful, and he has be­come the target of on­line bul­ly­ing, threats, and ac­cu­sa­tions of be­ing part of a con­spir­acy.

Mate­jka has re­moved his Facebook site, but his brother Tay­lor Mate­jka shared screen­shots of the abuse with The Guardian. One par­tic­u­larly nasty com­menter called Mate­jka a liar, say­ing,

“I hope some­one truly shoots you in the head.”

The posts al­lege Mate­jka is a cri­sis ac­tor and that the tragedy was a hoax. Some posts spew mis­in­for­ma­tion and abuse. Twitter users also claimed the shoot­ing was fake.

Tay­lor Mate­jka told The Guardian on Thurs­day that fam­i­lies of vic­tims of the shoot­ing, which hap­pened Oct. 1 at a con­cert in Las Ve­gas, are deal­ing with the most hor­rific thing they will likely ever ex­pe­ri­ence, yet are be­ing met with hate and anger on­line.

Many Twitter users, how­ever, have come to the de­fence of Mate­jka, con­demn­ing the on­line abuse as in­sen­si­tive.

On Oct. 1, lone gun­man Stephen Pad­dock opened fire at the Man­dalay Bay Re­sort and Casino, killing 58 peo­ple and in­jur­ing hun­dreds more.

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