Strangers organizing fundraiser for victim of random attack

A group of strangers have come together to organize a fundraiser for a man who was randomly attacked in downtown Kelowna last year.

James Summers-Gill was walking near Prospera Place with his 8-year-old daughter in April 2016 when a man approached them and repeatedly punched and kicked Summers-Gill. The man later stole a car which he crashed into a police cruiser before getting arrested.  

The assault left Summers-Gill with a brain injury and he has struggled mentally and financially since the attack, which motivated a group of people that don’t even know him to organize a fundraiser for him.

“I think just the fact that his daughter watched the whole thing, I just couldn’t believe that that had happened on the way to school,” says one organizer, Heather Ormiston.

“And he’s still struggling and all he was was a dad who was walking his kid to school and his whole life has changed.”

The man that attacked Summers-Gill, 42-year-old Mark Fines, was found not criminally responsible earlier this year and is currently at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam.

Ormiston says knowing Fines has more support than Summers-Gill made her want to help him even more.

“There’s doctors and there’s a mental facility that he’s in and he’s being fed and you know he’s sort of looked after,” Ormiston says “there’s support for the criminal but I mean the victim is sort of left to try and work a process out for himself and yet he’s got a brain injury.”

The idea for a fundraiser started on social media after people started talking about doing something for Summer-Gill.

It’s being held at OK Corral on June 14 and will include live music and a silent auction. 

A GoFuneMe page set up for Summers-Gill shortly after the attack has raised over $6,000 to date.