The mother of a murdered 8-year-old Chippewa County boy is speaking out on her son’s behalf.
Portia German’s son, Calvin, was among those who died in the July shootings in Lake Hallie and the town of Lafayette.
“I want Calvin to be looked at as an innocent bystander as well,” German said. “I want his story to be heard too. That may have been his uncle and family member that shot him, but I’m sure my son had absolutely nothing to do with it just like the other girl who had nothing to do with any of this. I feel kind of bad because people aren’t sharing Calvin’s story as much as I’d want them to.”
Authorities said Ritchie G. German, 33, shot six people, killing four of them, before fatally shooting himself. Authorities said Ritchie German killed his mother, 66-year-old Bridget German, his brother, 32-year-old Douglas German, and Douglas’ son, Calvin, on or about July 26. He also shot and killed Laile Vang, 24, and injured her parents, Teng and Mai Chang Vang in the arm with a shotgun, before killing himself in Lake Hallie on July 28.
German said she believes more attention is being given to the Vang family’s fundraising efforts because she was not related to the shooter.
Gofundme.com is a popular fundraising website where individuals and groups can donate to various causes. Both the Vang family and Portia German have set up fundraising efforts on the site after the shootings, with varying success.
“Because of the fact we were married, this is my last name too,” German said. “I’m sure people have their own opinion on everything. I’d really like people to help me. This was my child. Regardless of how often I saw him or the last time I saw him, I’m still the one who is burying an 8-year-old-child. That is the most heartbreaking thing in the world. I didn’t plan for this, I didn’t have a savings account set up for this, so I’m struggling.”
A fundraising effort for the Vang family created by Leni Sujin is underway with a total donation of $47,151 of the $50,000 goal being met.
A similar fundraiser entitled “God’s Newest Angel!” was set up by Portia German to aid with various costs, such as funeral expenses. A total of $4,078 has been raised with a goal of $5,000.
Portia and Douglas German were together from 2009-2011 — just after Calvin’s birth. The two reconciled in 2015 when Douglas wanted to incorporate her back into Calvin’s life. Those efforts resulted in Douglas and Calvin visiting Portia in her native Southern California in February 2016, and the two were married in Las Vegas.
After the marriage, the two ceased communication again in June 2016 until Douglas contacted Portia’s mother in May this year asking Portia to file for divorce. Portia and Douglas then communicated via email about how to proceed in the divorce process, with the final communication taking place the Thursday before the shootings.
Portia saying she scarcely saw her son after their separation.
German, who will be taking Calvin’s cremated ashes back to California, said her limited contact with Calvin during the course of his life was at the request of Douglas.
“As a parent, you try really hard to do what is right for your kids, so I believe that is what he thought was right for Calvin,” German said. “He kept Calvin from me because he thought he was doing something good for him.”
Portia said she had no inclination of any violence from within the German family, as she never met or had any contact with any of Douglas’ family members.
“When Doug would talk about his family, he never really said much about his brother Ritchie,” German said. “He would mention the story about Ritchie pulling the gun out on them when they were younger, but he didn’t really see Ritchie as a threat or at least he never expressed it to me.”
A private funeral service was held for Calvin on Monday in Chippewa Falls.