A GoFundMe to benefit Boston Police Officer John O’Keefe's adopted niece and nephew has raised nearly $170,000 as of Friday night, smashing its initial goal of $10,000.
“We considered many options but have decided to set up this fund for what meant the most to him and it is the kids,” O'Keefe's brother Paul told Boston 25 News.
The GoFundMe page, launched by Sean Hickey, says: "John was a devoted son, brother, uncle, godfather, cousin, friend.
"John was loved deeply by his family and was primarily devoted to and the guardian of his niece and nephew, Kayley and Patrick Furbush. He took custody of the children after their parents, Kristen and Stephen Furbush, both passed in 2013 and 2014.
“He was a Boston Police Officer for 16 years and he will be sorely missed by all who were blessed to have known him.
“The funds raised will go directly to Kayley and Patrick for their futures.”
John O'Keefe's body was discovered outside of a residence on Fairview Road in Canton, a suburb of Boston, in the early hours of January 29 as a powerful winter storm was blanketing the area in roughly 20 inches of snow.
Police launched an investigation and announced on February 1 that they had arrested and charged O'Keefe's girlfriend Karen Reade with manslaughter, leaving the scene of a motor vehicle collision causing death, and motor vehicle homicide. Reade pleaded not guilty on February 2 and has been released on bail. Her next court date is scheduled for March 1.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, O'Keefe's family said: “John was not only a dedicated police officer, he was an exemplary guardian, son, brother, uncle, and friend and we were so fortunate to have him as a part of our lives.
“When John’s sister passed away, and then her husband did as well a short time later, John welcomed the opportunity to raise his beloved niece and nephew and build a home and a life around their needs.
"People talk about someone who would give you the shirt off their back but that was truly who John was, and it is heartbreaking for us to suddenly be talking about him in the past tense.
“We appreciate the outpouring of support we have received but we ask for privacy at this time, and will have nothing further to say, as we mourn this unbearable loss.”
O'Keefe is being mourned not only by his friends and family but by his Boston PD colleagues. The Boston Police Department's Emerald Society, of which O'Keefe was a member, said in a statement: "John O'Keefe stepped up when others wouldn't or couldn't. He gave back more than he ever took. He was a dedicated public servant. He believed in the mission of the Department, and was always there for his fellow officers."
An obituary for John "JJ" O'Keefe shared by Cartwright Funeral Homes says a wake will be held this weekend in O'Keefe's hometown of Braintree, Massachusetts, and a funeral will be held on Monday.