SAN MARCOS, Texas - A fundraiser held at a Tacos Flor, for San Marcos Police Officer Paul Beller quickly sold-out Sunday afternoon.
On March 23, Beller was hit by a car on I-35 responding to a report of lumber in the road. The fundraiser Sunday happened just hours after a Bell County Deputy was hit and killed while deploying spikes on I-35.
“Pay attention please, pay attention when you see a police car with their lights on -- just please pay attention They are somebody who has a family, who has children.” pleaded Beller’s girlfriend, San Marcos Police Officer Caitlyn Bennett.
“I’m my daddy’s daughter and I love him!” Beller's 8-year-old daughter Allison told FOX 7 Austin.
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Beller is currently recovering at a rehabilitation center in Houston. Bennett says his family has been essentially unable to see him due to COVID-19.
“He is doing well as I guess could be expected. It’s going to be a long road to recovery, but he’s fighting, he’s definitely a fighter… so we’re expecting great things, it’s just gonna take a little bit of time so we just ask for continued prayers, and support.” she said.
Sunday, hundreds of people came out to show that support. More than 500 plates sold out almost immediately. Some community members stopped by to donate even after the food was gone.
“It’s amazing to just see the love and support from the community, especially during all these restrictions and COVID-19. It’s amazing, it really is.” Bennett said.
Bennett, says things have been “tough” for the department recently. On December 4, 2017 San Marcos Police Officer Ken Copeland was shot and killed while attempting to serve a warrant. On May 18 2019, Officer Claudia Cormier was hit by a suspected drunk driver on I-35, losing her leg. On April 18 Officers Justin Mueller and Franco Stewart were shot and wounded, and Officer Justin Putnam was shot and killed responding to a family violence call.
“It’s a hard pill to swallow man. It’s a lot of you know. I don’t know -- it’s hard to explain the department’s trying to wrap their head around it. So much tragedy in such a short time … but you know what it’s events like this, the community, these business owners reached out to the department wanting to give back and this is how they did it and man it was overwhelming today.” said CLEAT Field Representative Danny Arredondo. Arredondo retired from the San Marcos Police Department in January and worked the same shift as Beller.
“Never a dull moment working with that guy -- can’t wait to see him come back.” he said.
If you would like to donate to Officer Paul Beller, you can do so here: https://www.smcpaaa.org/donatebeller
“Paul would be so humble with all the support that people have shown him.” Bennett said.