Prayers, support at hospital and Backstoppers event for fallen and injured officers - KMOV.com

Prayers, support at hospital and Backstoppers event for fallen and injured officers

(KMOV) -- St. Louis Police Officer Lucas Roethlisberger has been in critical condition for four days now, and his family and brothers of the badge held a prayer vigil at Barnes-Jewish Hospital Sunday night, hoping their prayers -- along with the community's support -- will help him heal.

"Anyone in public safety -- you get into that career to help people and to help the community, and whenever anyone gets injured or killed in the line of duty, then it really strikes home," Jerry Lee, former St. Louis County Police Chief and current St. Louis Police Commissioner, says.

But it's been a tough week for good guys.  Roethlisberger's partner was also shot during Wednesday night's traffic stop.  He's O.K., but two days later the Missouri Highway Patrol helicopter crashed, claiming the life of pilot, Joe Schuengel.

Following a moment of silence for Trooper Schuengel, bagpipes sound inside a fundraiser for Backstoppers, which predominantly takes care of the families fallen officers leave behind.  Proceeds from a little pasta and salad helps pay for their mortgage, health care and school tuition.

"The fact that they're going to be financially set and the kids are going to be taken care of, makes the family deal with a tragic situation a little bit easier," Lee says.

Despite the difficult week, 14-year-old Amel Pollard still holds on to her dream to one day protect and serve.

"You still have to keep moving," Pollard says.  "You can't stop just because someone else stops.  You have to walk over that."

Officers injured in the line of duty this year are proof.  Rock Hill Officer Matt Crosby was paralyzed in April after he was shot while responding to a domestic disturbance call.  St. Louis Police Officer Joe Haman was shot during a traffic stop in May, proving how an everyday call can turn tragic in seconds.

The Backstoppers fundraiser has been going on for nine years.  Eight of those nine years saw the death of a St. Louis police officer or firefighter.

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