Blue Santa helps St. Louis mother paralyzed by stray bullet

WUPD is collecting goods to help family as they move into their new home

As a veteran police officer, Don Moore has witnessed his share of suffering and injustice. But when he heard the story of Tamara Collier, something inside of him cracked.

“Bad things happen to good people too many times,” said Moore, a Washington University Police Department patrol officer. “Here is a woman who has two little children and is working hard and is doing everything right. It felt so unfair.”

WUPD patrol officer Don Moore leads the department’s Blue Santa program, which is collecting gifts for the family of a St. Louis woman hit by a stray bullet. (Photo courtesy of WUPD)

On Sept. 1, Collier was washing laundry at her mother’s home in St. Louis when she was hit by a stray bullet aimed at a police officer. The bullet traveled through the back door before hitting Collier in the neck, paralyzing her from the neck down. She currently lives in a rehab center but soon will move home.

Moore wants to make the transition easier for Collier and her two children, a 5-year old boy and a 1-year old girl. For years, he has organized the WUPD Blue Santa program, which collects and delivers gifts for a family or entity in need, such as ALIVE, the Women’s Safe House and the St. Louis Children’s Home.

Moore has dressed up as Blue Santa before, but this year, he is passing on the honors to another officer.

“He’ll put on a blue hat and beard with his uniform,” Moore said. “You see a lot of negative things in social media, but we want to people to know we are there for them.”

Moore is inviting the Washington University in St. Louis community to support the Collier family. Collection boxes are at WUPD on the South 40 area of the Danforth Campus and at the Washington University Campus Store in Mallinckrodt Center. Donors also are welcome to contact Moore directly at don_moore@wustl.edu.

“The family has a grant to receive an accessible house, but Tamara has a long way,” Moore said. “They will need everything for the home — blankets, towels, toys for the kids. They need anything and everything. They’re starting all over again.”

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