TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Monday, lots of people loaded their forks with good food, while they forked over cash to support two Tucson Police officers shot and wounded in a confrontation last week.
The Tucson Police Officers Association hosted a benefit barbeque to benefit officers Jorge Tequida and Doug Wilfert, shot in a confrontation with a suspect early Thursday.
Late Monday TPOA reported the fundraiser had raised about $13,000.
Officer Tequida is still hospitalized. Officer Wilfert was treated and released.
There was a lot more than lunch going on at the Tucson Police Officers Association office at 2231 E. Speedway. The main menu is strong support for two Tucson Police officers who were shot last week. But there's also some barbeque on the side.
The food did draw a crowd, but this was a group hungry to help. A share of what they paid for their lunch will go to help the families of officers Jorge Tequida and Doug Wilfert deal with the costs of their recovery from gunshot wounds. They were hit in in a gunfight with Jose Barron-Gomez who they were trying to arrest for an aggravated assault.
This new call to help the officers gathered plenty of brothers and sisters from the world of first responders.
Joseph Romeo says he served 20 years with New York City Police. He says, "I've been through my share of cops being killed on the job so to be here and help out and support them and give them some money..."
Kara Riley is a Lieutenant with Oro Valley Police. She says of the Tucson Officers, "They would do the same for us and support for the family and the law enforcement community as a whole is a family and that's why Oro Valley Police wanted to come down and support this whole program."
Tucson Fire Captain Bill Bathes says, “They're in the line of fire just like all of us are and whenever somebody is hurt like that we want to show support."
Jason Winsky of TPOA says while the officers do have insurance through the City of Tucson, there are plenty of things the insurance won't cover.
“There's always a loss of overtime, secondary jobs, off duty deployment. Those things make up a significant portion of an officer's income especially when they're newer officers and they're at the bottom end of the pay range."
And now because so many came to check out the barbeque----or just drop off a check, money can be less of a worry and leave the officers to free to worry about getting well.
As of late Monday the barbeque had sold about 250 plates. Organizers estimate that probably raised about a thousand dollars. They've received about three thousand dollars in other donations. If you like to donate you can do so through the TPOA website or by calling (520) 837-7856