ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The St. Petersburg community rallied Friday around the family of a Lakewood High School graduate who was among the three sailors killed in a presumed terror attack at Naval Air Station Pensacola.
Ferg's Sports Bar and Grill held a fundraiser for Mohammed "Mo" Haitham's loved ones and dozens of people attended, dropping of donations throughout the day.
"It's very overwhelming, but overwhelming in a good sense. Mohammed was loved and still is loved," said Ashley Williams, Haitham's cousin.
Haitham, 19, was killed by a gunman who opened fire in his classroom last week at the naval base in Pensacola. Witnesses said Haitham died trying to stop the shooter.
Mark Ferguson, who owns Ferg's, called Haitham a hometown hero and said hosting a fundraiser was a no-brainer.
"We see this stuff happen all over the country, all over the world and when it hits your home, your backyard, it really hurts," Ferguson said.
Haitham was a track and field star at Lakewood High School. Williams said calling her cousin a hometown hero is a fitting description.
"The act that he did, trying to protect himself and protect his fellows, made him a hero, so he's from here, he is a hero, he was a hero, that name fits him perfectly," she said.
The tributes will continue Monday when Lakewood High School will host a vigil at 5:30 on the school's track.