Community Gathers Around East Bay Family of Doctor Gunned Down Last Week

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People from around the country are showing their support for the family of an East Bay doctor who was gunned down at random while enjoying the outdoors with his teenage son.

Ari Gershman of Danville was shot July 3 while off-roading in a new four-wheel drive Jeep with his son, Jack, near Downieville, according to a GoFundMe page set up for the family. After Gershman was killed, his 15-year-old son was lost for more than 30 hours in a Sierra Nevada forest.

Gershman also leaves behind a wife and two other children. A suspect is in custody.

Now, friends and hundreds of perfect strangers are donating their time and money to help support the family in their time of grief.

On Monday, a candlelight vigil (with battery-operated candles rather than open flame) will be held, with heartfelt messages for Gershman and his family.

“[He was] very well-loved by everyone who knew him, so it’s a great loss for all of us,” said Jill Forschler, a vigil organizer and family friend.

“The outpouring of love and support from this community, and really from across the country, has just been overwhelming,” she said. “Texts, emails and phone calls have just been pouring in.”

The vigil will be a semi-private ceremony near the Gershman home, but images will be shared on social media.

“…a visual representation of all the love and support is out there for them,” said Forschler.

Another show of support was on a Go Fund Me page set up on behalf of the family where more than half a million dollars has now been raised.

Money from the fund will pay for funeral costs, daily expenses and for chemotherapy treatments for Gershman’s wife, who is battling cancer.

“Not only does she have the funeral expenses and medical expenses, the daily expenses of raising three kids, she has the near future where she can’t work,” said Forschler.

Forschler said the Gershmans are genuinely touched by how many people have offered help in their time of need.

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