Chattanooga Police Sgt. Dennis Pedigo Jr. will be recovering from injuries sustained during the battle with shooter Mohammed Youssef Abdulazeez for some time to come.
His family “knows it will be a long road to recovery and they are thankful for the support of so many in our community and across the country,” Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke told ABC News.
A GoFundMe page has been established for anyone who wishes to contribute financial support to Pedigo’s recovery.
WRCB News reports a second account was set up for Sgt. Pedrigo with the Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union by a police academy mate. USA Today, which reports the GoFundMe page made it halfway to its $20,000 goal by Tuesday afternoon, mentions a third donation page established for the Chattanooga shooting victims by the National Compassion Fund.
According to a statement from the family, the injured officer is “doing well” and is “in good spirits.” In addition to thanking members of the community for their support, the Pedigo family extended their own thoughts and prayers to the families of those killed in the attack.
39-year-old Pedigo is a 17-year police veteran who has “worked patrol, he’s worked in the K-9 Unit and off duty he’s even works with kids as a volunteer football coach,” according to the report by WRCB News.
He has also coached baseball and wrestling, according to his friend John “Bucky” McCulley. “If the community needs him, Dennis will always be there and it’s the same when he’s not in uniform and just like the other day, they needed him he was there,” McCulley testified.
“He is without a doubt one of the toughest men I know,” said Pedrigo’s supervisor, Sgt. Gary Martin. “He selflessly ran into gunfire to prevent death. I have no doubt that he and other officers prevented people from dying.”
Pedrigo was hit in the ankle during the battle with Abdulazeez, after the gunman carried out his second attack at the Navy Operational Support Center. “As he went down, his teammates who were responding equally aggressive came to his aid,” said Police Chief Fred Fletcher. The other officers were able to get Pedrigo to safety while returning fire at Abdulazeez.
Pedrigo underwent surgery over the weekend, after which he was moved from the trauma center to recover at a local hospital. He is expected to require a cast and crutches for several months to come, according to his family.