The Tulsa Police Department Foundation and a local media organization raised more than half a million dollars Wednesday to benefit the families of two police officers who were shot, one fatally, last week.

Tulsa police officers, foundation members and Cox Media Group staff collected donations throughout the day at LaFortune Park, 5500 S. Yale Ave. The funds will go to support the families of Sgt. Craig Johnson, who was killed, and Officer Aurash Zarkeshan, who is recovering in a hospital after being shot during a traffic stop.

“For the families, obviously they’re struggling emotionally and spiritually and physically,” Tulsa Police Officer Jon Grafton said. “This little bit? Give a penny, and it helps.”

Grafton spent the hours before his shift Wednesday helping collect donations. Grafton said the money will help see Johnson’s and Zarkeshan’s families through some of their financial uncertainties in the wake of the shootings.

Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin said $17,000 had been raised by 8 a.m., just three hours after collection efforts at LaFortune Park began. Mayor G.T. Bynum said more than $100,000 was raised in about four hours.

But by Wednesday evening, Bynum said in a Facebook post that the fundraiser had netted more than $515,000.

In-person fundraising efforts wrapped up at 7 p.m. Donations can still be made online directly to the Tulsa Police Department Foundation.

Grafton and Franklin remarked on the outpouring of support and solidarity from the Tulsa community and community at large. Franklin said the fundraising efforts will support Johnson’s family and Zarkeshan and his family through “long-standing financial impacts.”

“This is just another way … for people to give back to these officers who have given so much,” Franklin said.

Johnson and Zarkeshan were shot early June 29 during a traffic stop in east Tulsa. Johnson, who had been with the Tulsa Police Department 15 years, succumbed to his injuries June 30.

Authorities allege that David Anthony Ware, 32, shot Johnson and Zarkeshan during a traffic stop. Ware refused to get out of his car when the officers told him the vehicle would be towed due to owed taxes, police said. A struggle ensued while the officers tried to get Ware out of the car, and Ware pulled a handgun from under the driver’s seat and shot both officers multiple times, police said.

Johnson’s public funeral will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday at Victory Church in Tulsa. Masks will be provided for attendees.

Zarkeshan reportedly is awake and communicating with his family in the hospital and is improving day by day, police have said.

Related video

Gallery: Procession for Tulsa Police Sgt. Craig Johnson

Stetson Payne contributed to this story.

Harrison Grimwood

918-581-8369

harrison.grimwood@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: @grimwood_hmg

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