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8-year-old musician performs for injured police officer

Vihaan Bansal sat on a barstool in front of a crowded 3 Jacks Burger Bar in Dunmore on a Friday night.

At his feet was a bucket with a blue sign reading "Fundraiser for Det. Gilmartin" and "SPD Strong."

The 8-year-old strummed his guitar and sang an acoustic version of "Memories" by Maroon 5, followed by "Until I Found You" by Stephen Sanchez — songs he said he's been singing since he was 6.

Vihaan is among those in the greater Scranton community continuing to raise money for Scranton Police Detective Kyle Gilmartin — who was shot and critically injured on Jan. 11 — and his family.

"I just like doing like nice things for people and ... like giving money to the people in need," Vihaan said.

Gilmartin is at a rehab facility near Philadelphia.

Vihaan Bansal, 8, plays at 3 Jacks Burger Bar in Dunmore to raise funds for injured Scranton Police Officer Kyle Gilmartin.
Kat Bolus
/
WVIA News
Vihaan Bansal, 8, plays at 3 Jacks Burger Bar in Dunmore to raise funds for injured Scranton Police Officer Kyle Gilmartin.

The third grader from Dunmore started singing at 3 years old. He’s confident in front of a crowd, which he credits to watching concerts on TV and YouTube. His first live show was at the Bucktown Music Festival.

"I just think that I have a talent .. So I learned like a little guitar and piano," he said.

Vihaan has raised over $200 for Gilmartin. His parents, Diksha and Rajiv Bansal, said the fundraiser was his initiative. After 3 Jacks, he sprinted down Drinker Street to perform another set at another bar, Honeychilds'.

Vihaan is among many community members helping Gilmartin. Restaurants, bakeries and coffee shops have donated portions of their proceeds to the officer and his family. The local Fraternal Order of Police’s GoFundMe campaign has raised over $2,000 more than their original goal of $200,000.

T-shirts and car coasters are for sale at the Scranton Police Department and SPD Strong yard signs are in front of homes and businesses across the city.

Kat Bolus is the community reporter for the newly-formed WVIA News Team. She is a former reporter and columnist at The Times-Tribune, a Scrantonian and cat mom.

You can email Kat at katbolus@wvia.org
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