ELMHURST, Ill. (CBS) – There was huge support Wednesday night for the family of a Bensenville police officer who was shot and critically injured at work this month.
The support show took place by, of all places, a political rally in a ballroom in Elmhurst.
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CBS 2 political investigator Dana Kozlov spoke with the wife of Officer Steven Kotlewski, who attended the event. Crystal Kotlewski spoke publicly for the first time about her husband’s shooting – and said she is angry and terrified, but grateful.
“But none of that answers the question I get asked daily, which is, ‘When is my dad coming home?'” Crystal Kotlewski said, “and it breaks my heart that I do not have an answer for her.”
Crystal Kotlewski was strangled as she talked about her children’s anguish – and her own – in the 11 days that have passed since her policeman was shot at work.
“My husband is more than that uniform,” she said. “He is a wonderful man and an amazing father.”
She spoke to the packed banquet hall at a political event for DuPage County board member Pete DiCianni (R-2nd), a former Elmhurst mayor. But the event was also a fundraiser for the Kotlewski family.
“I ask you to dig deep tonight,” DiCianni said. “This is not about me. This is about this officer.”
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Officer Kotlewski, a 12-year veteran, was shot nine times early Saturday, Nov. 6, while responding to a domestic call in an apartment complex on the 100-block of South York Road. He was shot six times in the leg, once in the arm, once in his bulletproof vest and once in the torso.
The father of three children under the age of 8 has already been operated on for 50 hours.
“He sat up in a chair today and it was so amazing,” Crystal Kotlewski said.
Kiante Tyler, 21, is now charged with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated assault during the shooting. He is being held without restraint.
In the meantime to GoFundMe has already raised more than $ 164,000 for Kotlewski’s family.
Crystal Kotlewski said she is overwhelmed and grateful for the support and donations.
“I talked to my husband and he said everything is for the kids,” she said.
Crystal Kotlewski is a stay-at-home mom. Their oldest child has autism and she is not sure if her husband will be able to return to work.
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He has several surgeries and a long way ahead.