Cop killings put strain on survivor fund

February 20, 2009 11:51:57 AM PST
Police sirens remind newstand vendor Manuel Dias of the hail of bullets in which he was caught Friday night when Officer John Pawlowski was killed.Diaz was inside his tiny news and candy stand when he heard the altercation that lead to the deadly confrontation between Pawlowski and murder suspect Rasheed Scrugs.

He told Action News what he heard Scrugs say to a taxi driver, just before police arrived.

"He say, 'If you call the cop I kill you and kill the cop," Dias said.

Investigators say, when officers arrived, they asked Scrugs to take his hands out of the long jacket he was wearing but he didn't comply. He then fired several shots from a gun inside his jacket.

Officer John Pawlowski, whose wife is expecting the couple's first child, was hit several times, including one shot that struck him above his bulletproof vest and another that hit him in the side. He fired a single shot before he went down.

Two other officers began firing at Scrugs, hitting him several times. Scrugs continues to improve after surgery at Einstein Medical Center.

Two of the bullets pierced Dias' newsstand as he ducked on the floor.

Meanwhile, a steady trickle of Philadelphians are contributing to the makeshift shrine mourning the sixth Philadelphia police officer killed in 16 months.

"It's a shame when the criminals have more guns than the police officers," said Ravon Payton of Holmesburg. "My heart goes out to the family, the wife with an unborn child."

This relentless series of cop killings has put an enormous strain on the FOP's survivor's fund, which provides for the families of fallen officers.

"The fund,unfortunately, was once down. We started to get it back up and here we go again," said John McNesby of the Fraternal Order of Police. "We're planning another funeral, again, that we shouldn't be doing, and again we're at rock bottom."

The FOP says the entire community has been generous in terms of fundraising, but now they'll be forced to ask for more donations to replenish the FOP Survivor's Fund.

There will be a beneft held on Friday, February 20th in honor of John Pawlowski. All proceeds will go to his family.

It will be held at:

Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #5

1336 Spring Garden Street

Philadelphia, PA 19123

Phone: 215-629-3600

CLICK HERE for more information.

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