Dozens of people gathered in central Phoenix at the start of a 12-hour fundraiser for Phoenix Police Department Officer Tyler Moldovan on Friday morning after the 22-year-old was shot earlier in the week.
Essa Williams, 24, is suspected of shooting Moldovan up to eight times as officers responded to reports of vehicles speeding and "doing donuts" near 19th Avenue and Camelback Road, according to court records.
Britt London, president of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, said many people have reached out to the organization in the days since the shooting to express their support and ask how they can help.
He called the fundraiser a "perfect conduit" for doing so, adding that PLEA would cover all ancillary costs so that 100% of proceeds would go to Moldovan's family.
"We don't know what's going to happen with Tyler, but we do know that his family's going to need support financially," London said. "This is a way for them to be able to do that."
The fundraiser, held at PLEA's office near 11th Avenue and Adams Street, will end at 10 p.m. Friday.
Several thousand people attended the fundraiser for the family of fallen Officer Ginarro New in June. London said that while the holidays may mean fewer people are in town, PLEA was eager to receive any donations for Moldovan's family either at the fundraiser or through its website.
William Taylor, 21, went to the same high school as Moldovan. Though he said he didn't know Moldovan too well, they were in the same weightlifting class during his junior year and had mutual friends.
Taylor said he was "devastated" when he found out about the shooting on social media.
"It was weird, you always hear about something like this on the news but when it actually happens to someone that you knew about and felt kind of close to, it was really eye-opening to see how easily this can happen," he said.
Taylor said he hoped the incident would foster "more understanding and empathy" for law enforcement.
"If anything goes wrong, people call 911 and at the same time, people are so quick to bash law enforcement," Taylor said. "They don't realize what they go through every day, how some mundane task an officer does can turn bad. I think it's important we are appreciative and supportive of what they do for us."
Taylor made a donation at the fundraiser and told The Arizona Republic that he's praying for the best for his former classmate.
"I hope that this is a chance for everyone to come together and support law enforcement, support his family," he said. "Hopefully it can be a growing opportunity."
Tameka Irving, 43, has also been keeping the Moldovan family in her prayers.
"It's a tragic thing, when officers do their best and end up getting hurt on the job," she said.
The issue hits home for Irving, the daughter of a retired Phoenix Police Department officer.
"People take it lightly that they walk the streets every day, they patrol, but they're in the line of duty 24 hours a day, whether they're on-duty or off-duty," she said. "I just had to come and donate something."
Moldovan remained in "extremely critical condition" as of Wednesday afternoon, the Phoenix Police Department said.
Williams was booked into jail on suspicion of attempted first-degree murder, resisting arrest and prohibited possession of a weapon, according to court records. His bond was set at $3 million.
Reach the reporter at email@example.com or 602-444-8529. Follow her on Twitter @brieannafrank.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Fundraiser held for family of wounded Phoenix officer Tyler Moldovan