Kids in Keenesburg raise thousands of dollars for Kilker family after murder-suicide

Kids donate proceeds from 4H animals sold at fair

WELD COUNTY, Colo. - The small town of Keenesburg has rallied together to raise money for surviving family members after a murder-suicide left a father and son dead in their community.

Weld County investigators believe Shawn David Kilker, 42, shot and killed his 14-year-old son, Keith, before taking his own life on Tuesday, Aug. 5.

A group of kids who knew Keith sacrificed months of hard work in order to raise thousands of dollars for the family.

"The Kilker family recently lost loved ones due to a tragic event," Keenesburg resident Sarah Kos told 7NEWS. "Our community also lost what we consider family."

At the South East Weld County Fair Saturday, 10 children voluntarily donated a portion of the sale of their 4H project animals to the Kilker family, Kos said. The total was $7,200.

"However, there was one young lady who stood out the most -- Payton Bellm," said Kos. "Payton and Keith were good friends and went to school together."

"Me and him were like brother and sister, we had a lot of good memories together and we had a whole bunch of fun together," Payton told 7NEWS Reporter Jennifer Kovaleski. 

Payton and her family decided to sell a hog at the fair and donated all of the proceeds to the Kilker family.

Payton raised a Hampshire Cross Hog in Brighton that weighed in at 217 pounds.

"I just thought it was great for the community to come together, help me out and help the Kilker's out," said Payton.

Payton's hog was sold, then was donated back to the fair, and was sold again.

"We're lucky enough, often, to have one bid on a hog and when they kept saying sell it again, sell it again, it was amazing," explained Payton's Mother Shawni Hilton

A total of seven people ended up buying the pig, which normally sells for a few hundred dollars. The bidding concluded with a grand total of $11,500 being raised for the Kilker family. The hog meat was also donated to the family.

"With tears flowing down everyone’s faces, the next kid came in with a lamb that was also donated back to the fair board," Kos said. "This lamb's proceeds were also donated as well as the meat."

In addition, the Weld Central Booster club, who handled the food booth during the entire fair, was able to collect $1,500 in donations from the residents in the community, according to Kos.

The Weld Central Football players are also holding a fundraiser and will be donating 10 percent of their earnings to the Kilker family.

"There are so many arrangements that need to be made and I just can't imagine what the family is going through, it was just our way of helping," said Hilton.

"Keenesburg cares a lot about their community and [residents] treat everyone like family," Kos told 7NEWS. "We want to show everyone that not only bad situations happen in our town, but, good situations as well."

A memorial service will be held for Keith in Keenesburg on Saturday, Aug. 16. 

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