Fundraiser benefits family of 'hometown hero' killed in Pensacola base shooting

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.

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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.