Trey Powell was at work at Jesse James Fit in Flower Mound, Texas, when he got the call that his stepfather and brother had been shot and killed here in Eldred Township.
Wednesday night, Jeffery Place, 54, and his stepson, Steven Powell, 30, were shot at their home on Meixsell Valley Road. Accused is a neighbor, Garry S. Flyte, 54.
Maddie Fenn, office manager of the gym, was with Trey when he got the call.
"I watched it all happen as if it was all in slow motion," Fenn said. "He ran outside and began sobbing."
Fenn has worked with Powell for about three years and wanted to do what she could to help. So she started up a fund for the family.
As of Monday morning, the gofundme.com site has raised more than $15,000.
"In a tragedy like this, there's only so much you can do," Fenn said. She hopes the money can be used to defray funeral costs and for counseling for the survivors. Services will be held Monday for the two victims.
She originally set a goal of $20,000, but when she raised $13,000 in two days, she moved her target to $35,000.
"Trey is just an incredible selfless person. There's been an outpouring of support from his co-workers and friends," Fenn said.
People from Fenn's hometown, Minneapolis, have contributed, as well as folks in Pennsylvania.
"This is a horrible, horrible tragedy and the only way to recover is as a community," Fenn said.
Powell is focused on taking care of his mother, Fenn said, who is speaking for the family.
He had helped his stepfather to build a workshop on the property where Place was killed. The shed was near completion and Powell plans to finish it.
"Both Steven and Jeff passed away trying to save the family," Fenn said.
She said Jeff tried to wrestle the gun away from the shooter. Steven was shot but managed to get his mother, Wendy Place, to safety in the field near the house. Steven later died at the hospital.
"Trey had that same love for the family. Whenever I needed him or a shoulder to cry on, he was there," Fenn said. "Now it's our time to take care of Trey and his family."
Co-workers from the gym are covering Powell's shifts for free so that he will still get paid.
While Fenn has conducted other fundraisers on gofundme.com, she said she is surprised at the amount of support this fund has generated. Some of Powell's teenage clients have donated $20.
"I can only imagine what else can happen," Fenn said.
She's hoping to link with some groups that offer support to families of murder victims.
"It's very rewarding on a personal level to see how much kindness is out there.
The entire family is loving and wholesome people, she said.
"They are the kind of people who make this world better to live in."
The address to help the Powell-Place family is http://www.gofundme.com/helptreypowellandfamily.