Two weeks have passed since the slaying of New Kensington police Officer Brian Shaw, and the community is still working to help his family recover in any way they can.
Through the donations of several local families and businesses, sales of T-shirts featuring Shaw's number 29 police badge and the Latin phrase “non timebo mala,” meaning “I will fear no evil,” will take place Saturday and Sunday at the city halls in Lower Burrell and New Kensington.
Proceeds from the T-shirt sales will go directly to the Officer Brian Shaw Memorial Fund.
Shasta Bassett, of Lower Burrell, helped organize the memorial fund and T-shirt sales. Bassett is the daughter of now-retired Lower Burrell police Sgt. Ted Meixelsberger, who also helped establish the Derek Kotecki Scholarship Fund and the memorial golf tournament named for the slain Lower Burrell officer.
Bassett said another officer's death is a tragedy the community didn't need.
“It's terrible, it's heartbreaking,” she said. “The lack of respect for authority anymore, across the board, is disheartening. It's upsetting. I think there needs to be more people doing good in the world.”
Bassett said Shaw supporters approached her for help with a memorial fund because of her experience raising money for the Kotecki fund.
“There was a lot going on when (Shaw) died, obviously, so I was asked to look over some things,” she said. “Unfortunately, our committee knows the ropes of how to handle these sorts of situations.”
Kotecki, who was an 18-year veteran of the Lower Burrell police force, was ambushed Oct. 12, 2011.
Lower Burrell police Chief Tim Weitzel said the community's support has meant a lot.
“The law enforcement community is very appreciative when anyone chooses to support us, especially when a police officer has made the highest sacrifice any officer can make,” he said. “These shirts … help to ensure that Officer Shaw's sacrifice will be remembered long into the future. I can assure you that I am grateful to this day anytime I see someone wearing an Officer Kotecki shirt knowing that he is remembered.”
David Regoli, who was on city council the year Kotecki was killed, said the Shaw murder will forever change New Kensington.
However, Regoli said the focus now should be on Shaw's family. He said that's why his and other families donated to help cover the cost of the T-shirts.
“Anything to help bring some comfort and peace to his family,” he said.
Matthew Medsger is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4675.