ELMHURST, Ill. (CBS) — There was a huge show of support Wednesday evening for the family of a Bensenville police officer who was shot and critically injured on the job this month.
The show of support took place at, of all places, a political fundraiser at a banquet hall in Elmhurst.READ MORE: Chicago Police Officer Shot, Wounded In Calumet Heights; One Suspect Also Shot
CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov talked with the wife of Officer Steven Kotlewski, who attended the event. Crystal Kotlewski spoke publicly for the first time about her husband’s shooting – saying she is angry and terrified, but grateful.
“But none of that answers the question that I get asked daily, which is, ‘When is my daddy coming home?’” Crystal Kotlewski said, “and it breaks my heart that I don’t have an answer for her.”
Crystal Kotlewski choked up when talking about her children’s anguish – and her own – in the 11 days that have passed since her police officer husband was shot on the job.
“My husband is more than that uniform,” she said. “He’s a wonderful husband and an amazing dad.”
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 a fundraiser for the Kotlewski family too.
“I’m asking you to dig deep tonight,” DiCianni said. “This isn’t about me. This is about this officer.”READ MORE: Massive Fire Destroys Home In Kildeer; Holiday Decorations Believed To Be To Blame
Officer Kotlewski, a 12-year veteran, was shot nine times on early Saturday, Nov. 6 while responding to a domestic call in an apartment complex in 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 undergone 50 hours of surgery.
“He sat up in a chair today, and that was so amazing,” Crystal Kotlewski said.
Kiante Tyler, 21, is now charged with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated battery in the shooting. He is being held without bond.
Meanwhile, a 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 spoke to my husband, and he said everything is all 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.MORE NEWS: Jussie Smollett Trial: Abel Osundairo, One Of Two Brothers Who Said He Was Paid To Help Stage Attack, Says Smollett 'Wanted Me To Fake Beat Him Up'
He has several more surgeries and a long road ahead.