COLORADO SPRINGS – The Colorado Springs community is continuing to rally behind one of its heroes in blue.
Colorado Springs Police Office Cem Duzel was shot in the line of duty earlier this month and is still in critical, but stable condition.
On Tuesday night, hundreds of people came together to support Officer Duzel and his family through a huge fundraiser held at Rock Bottom Brewery. The restaurant and the organization Shield 616 had already planned to do a fundraiser a few months ago. After Officer Duzel was shot they decided to switch gears.
Besides raising funds to buy more body armor for officers, part of the proceeds from the fundraiser will go to support Duzel’s family with whatever they might need. The restaurant is donating 15 percent from each dinner. The proceeds from t-shirts and bracelets sold by Shield 616 and the Police Protective Association will also benefit the family.
Jake Skifstad, founder and president of Shield 616, said, “He’s [Duzel] a go-getter. He’s a hard worker. He’s a cop’s cop…he is truly out there, like all of them, putting his life on the line for you and me, strangers…that’s why all of our law enforcement are heroes.”
Aaron Strong, a customer at Rock Bottom Brewery, said, “I hope it brings any relief that they may have financially, end some of that burden and…hopes to show that the community is behind the law enforcement, they’re behind Cem, they’re behind CSPD, and that’s what I came out for…just to support my brothers in blue.”
The Peace Officers Memorial Committee was also at the fundraiser to assist. The grand total of funds raised is still to be determined. However, as of early Tuesday night, t-shirts were almost sold out and the turnout for dinner was huge as there was about a two-hour wait for customers.
Colorado Springs Police said there have been no significant changes to Officer Duzel’s status. Everyone in the community is hoping for a speedy recovery.