PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It has been just over a month since Lower Burrell Police Officer Derek Kotecki was shot and killed in the line of duty.
Now, fellow officers and friends are helping to honor the fallen officer and raise money for the family he left behind.
Officer Kotecki’s life was cut short when he was shot and killed on an October night in the Dairy Queen parking lot on Greensburg Road.
Since that time, friends are trying to keep Officer Kotecki’s name alive.
“Wives and friends have been at the house constantly, just to keep the family in touch,” said Officer Scott Miller, of the Lower Burrell Police Department. “Everything’s changed now, nothing’s the same. As all our guys are saying, nothing will ever be the same.”
Officer Miller says there is now a committee to oversee all of the fundraisers that have been organized, several of which are happening in the upcoming weeks.
One hundred percent of the proceeds will go directly to the widow and two children of Derek Kotecki, a family that has been devastated by the loss of a man who devoted so much to his community.
“Enough is not enough,” said Officer Miller. “It’s just a tragic event and we just want to make sure everyone is taken care of.”
“You have a widow at home that’s facing now Thanksgiving without dad, without her husband; facing Christmas without dad, without her husband,” Officer Rich Griffith, of the Western Pa. Police Benevolent Foundation.
Griffith is helping with some of the fundraisers.
While there was an initial outpouring of support after Kotecki’s death, he says that the family still needs the love and support of the community.
“This man went to work 18 years to make sure Lower Burrell was as safe as he could make it during his shift,” said Griffith. “That’s what he did, and he didn’t come home that day, and now his family needs you to help them.”
There are several ways you can help to honor Officer Kotecki.
On Friday night, there is a pro wrestling event with Bruno Sammartino at the Lower Burrell VFW. Also, there’s a fundraiser dinner at the Syria Shriner’s ballroom.
Then, on Nov. 23, the Fallen, Not Forgotten, benefit concert at the Altar Bar in the Strip District.
Officer Derek Kotecki Memorial Fund:
S & T Bank
4251 Old Wm. Penn Hwy.
2800 Bethel Street