Community comes together to support families of fallen, wounded detectives

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
People lined up at about noon on Thursday at the PLEA lunch barbecue By Mike Gertzman People lined up at about noon on Thursday at the PLEA lunch barbecue By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA) is hosting a pair of barbecues Thursday to benefit the family of Detective John Hobbs, the officer shot and killed in the line of duty Monday, and that of Detective A.J. Casados, who was wounded in the same shootout and is now recovering at home.

Police officers and members of the community -- hundreds of people -- came together Wednesday night for a candlelight vigil in honor of Hobbs and Casados.

A neighborhood watch group organized the vigil. Not only did they show concern for Hobbs' and Casados' families, but for the men and women who wear a badge every day.

"It's humbling; it's actually awe-inspiring to see this because on a day-to-day basis, we don’t actually see it," Cactus Park Precinct Lt. Ben Leuschner said.

The outpouring of support has been tremendous, and will continue with the PLEA events.

"We do this every time we have a tragedy in the Phoenix Police Department," PLEA president Joe Clure explained. "This is to provide immediate financial relief and support for the family. The other benefit to this ... is the ability to have the officers come together with the community and grieve together. It's actually very therapeutic. I think it certainly helps us in the healing process ...."

All of the donations from Thursday's lunch and dinner barbecues will be distributed to the Hobbs and Casados families through PLEA Charities, which was set up specifically to provide financial support and educational assistance to law-enforcement officers and their families.

PLEA Charities also contributes to community groups and organizations that support public safety.

If you cannot attend either of the barbecues, but would still like to contribute, you may do so via Paypal at Checks may be mailed to PLEA Charities, 1102 West Adams, Phoenix, AZ 85007. Please write Hobbs, Casados or both names on the check.

If you have questions about donating money to PLEA Charities, call the PLEA office at 602-246-7869.

If you prefer to make a donation through the 100 Club of Arizona, visit The 100 Club was established specifically to support the families of first responders who are injured or killed in the line of duty.

Bashas, A.J.'s and Food City grocery stores are collecting donations for the 100 Club, as well. Just tell the cashier when you are checking out. The stores will accept contributions for the detectives' families through next Friday. Click here for a list of store locations.

In addition, a memorial fund for the Hobbs family has been set up at National Bank of Arizona. All locations are accepting donations.

On Monday, Beauty By Veronica will host a cut-a-thon benefiting the 100 Club. Click here for details and RSVP information.

PLEA lunch and dinner barbecues
Where: PLEA (Phoenix Law Enforcement Association) Garage, 1102 W. Adams, Phoenix
When: Thursday, March 6 -- Lunch will be served 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Dinner will be available 4 p.m.-8 p.m.
Why: To raise money for the families of both detectives.
How: Through donations at the event. 100 percent of all funds raised will be donated to the two families.