ODESSA, Texas (ABC Big 2/ Fox 24)- Odessa Police are in need of bulletproof vests that protect them from rifles. A non-profit, Shield 616 is helping law enforcement get this extra layer of protection. A wife of one of the victims of the Odessa mass shooting says our police deserve this.
And it’s the first time she’s talked with the media since the shooting.
“We were present when my husband was shot and killed that day,” said Becky Griffith.
Becky lost her husband on August 31st. Joe was one of seven victims killed in the Odessa mass shooting.
It’s been about a year and a half. This is the first time Becky is sharing her story.
She says she wants to use her tragedy for good.
“It wasn’t lost on us how quickly they turned around and ran to where they knew they were in danger,” said Becky Griffith.
Becky wants to help protect local law enforcement because she says she will never forget how they helped her on that tragic day.
“We feel pretty passionate that we want them to be protected to their utmost not just on those worst days which we hope we never have to experience again but from day to day,” said Becky Griffith.
Odessa Police don’t have lightweight vests that protect them from rifle rounds. They have protection from pistols. But in the Odessa mass shooting a rifle was used.
“The nature of law enforcement is you never know what situation you might run into. Who’s gonna have a rifle. Who’s gonna have a pistol,” said Lt. Kevin Chance with OPD.
They have some vests that protect them from rifles, but they are extremely heavy.
“Unless you have witnessed first hand what they actually do. Especially when zero hesitation you’re in danger and they are there. Unless you have witnessed it you don’t always exactly know what they’re willing to do,” said Becky Griffith.
The Angel Armor vests are what police are hoping to get. But it’s going to cost a lot of money.
A fundraiser is now underway to raise the funds.
As for Becky and her family, they continue to heal.
“We’re honestly doing pretty well. We’re firm believers that nothing could have changed what was going to happen that day- our faith has brought us through that. We’ve adjusted and lived this new life that we have and my kids are amazingly strong,” said Becky Griffith.
Thursday a “lunch and learn” will be held to start the fundraising process with Shield 616.
You can attend at Crossroads Church at noon.
Police are looking to raise nearly $1 million for the vests.