Cooking it up for a causeEctor County Sheriff’s Office holding benefit for injured deputies

Ector County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Brandon Blake and reserve officer Trent Sellers each had one common goal — put together a benefit to assist the three deputies shot in the line of the duty.
Their plan is a hamburger cookout with the funds being distributed between Josh Pool, 28, Cody Smith, 26, and Ricky Rodriguez, 28, to help with medical bills and other expense.
On Wednesday night, ECSO shared the cookout on its Facebook page and received such overwhelming support that the venue has to the Ector County Coliseum.
“The community is coming together,” Blake said. “It’s really nice to see how much people really do care about law enforcement. It makes me even happier to serve the community.”
The cookout is 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Ector County Coliseum Barn A. The cost for the cookout will be $10 per plate.
Sellers said the benefit has purchased more than 500 patties from Whitehouse Meat Market at a discount. He added there are other local businesses that are helping provide food and manpower for the event.
“It has been pretty cool,” Sellers said about the support from the community.
Blake and Sellers each have their own personal reasons to assist the three deputies.
For the last 16 years, Blake has been with law enforcement in the Permian Basin. He has worked for ECSO for past six years and prior to that he was with the Odessa Police Department for 10 years.
In 2007, Blake was working for OPD when Arlie Jones, Scott Gardner and Abel Marquez were shot and killed in the line of duty.
Police had been called to a domestic disturbance in the 2900 block of Ventura Avenue. There, Larry Neil White, a drunken 59-year-old cancer patient armed with a shotgun, ambushed and killed the three officers.
“Back in 2007, I worked for the Odessa Police Department and three of my partners were shot and killed,” Blake said. “I worked with those guys personally and unfortunately they didn’t make it out alive. That’s something that I think about every day.
“Fortunately, this time these guys did make it.”
For Sellers, he spent 11 years with the Midland Police Department and recently joined ECSO as a reserve officer about three months ago.
Sellers works in the oil and gas industry in field safety for KLX Energy Service. He said all three of the deputies are going to need help with medical bills. Sellers said officers and deputies typically have a second source of income to help pay their regular monthly bills.
“When you are working for the sheriff’s department or any police department period, they work off duty jobs just to make ends meet,” Sellers said. “They are going to lose a little money not being able to work off duty.”
Pat Patton, Ector County human resources director, said worker’s compensation and an insurance claim have been submitted for all three deputies. She added the approval for all claims for all three deputies won’t be determined until the investigation being done by Texas Rangers is completed.
“We submit claims to worker’s compensation for anyone injured in the line of duty for the county,” Patton said. “It will up to worker’s compensation to decide whether it’s covered.
“Insurance company has been notified that there were three officers and we will send them the details when we have the report.”
Pool is part of the special investigative unit, while Smith is a criminal investigation division investigator and Rodriguez is a reserve officer. Pool and Rodriguez were each shot in the leg, while Smith had a bullet graze his lip.
The three deputies were working as part of a SWAT team serving a search warrant for narcotics at 9:30 p.m. Monday at 7321 Kentucky Ave., a trailer house in north Odessa.
Damon Murad Asad, 33, was shot and killed after he reportedly opened fire on the deputies. Juan Antonio Andrade, 35, was taken into custody and charged failure to identify, a class A misdemeanor.
On Friday, Andrade was taken from the Ector County Law Enforcement Center to the Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville. Andrade is in custody of the United States Marshals Service.