ECSO’s hamburger cookout smashes expectations

Ector County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Brandon Blake had originally hoped to sell a couple hundred burgers during a cookout benefitting three deputies shot in the line of duty last week.
Community members, local law enforcement agencies and first responders helped ECSO smash those expectations on Wednesday at the Ector County Coliseum, Barn A.
Blake said the initial goal of 200 burgers continuously rose and served more than 2,200 people.
“It brings into perspective the way people view law enforcement,” Blake said. “A lot of times, we can’t please everyone and a lot of times we wish we could. We are out there doing our job. A majority of the people understand that we have a job to do. A majority of people do support us and it’s good to see.”
The benefit was for ECSO deputies Josh Pool, 28, Cody Smith, 26, and Ricky Rodriguez, 28. All three were all reportedly shot by gunman Damon Murad Asad, 33, who was shot and killed after he reportedly opened fire on deputies who were there to serve a narcotics search warrant on Jan. 14 at 7321 Kentucky Ave.
Juan Antonio Andrade, 35, was inside the home at the time and was taken into custody and charged with failure to identify, a class A misdemeanor. Andrade was taken from the Ector County Law Enforcement Center to the Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville on Friday. Andrade is in custody of the United States Marshals Service.
In addition to an outpouring support from the community, the three deputies shot each received a Thin Blue Line wooden flag crafted by Wood Shop in Odessa.
“At times, we work a really thankless job and this is a really good showing for the community to come out and support us,” Pool said. “It really has showed us that the community is really backing us at this time.”
Pool and Rodriguez were each shot in the left leg, while Smith had a bullet graze the left side of his lip. All three deputies are currently not on active duty.
Smith showed up at the Ector County Law Enforcement Center the day after the shooting. He explained that not everybody at ECSO could make it to the hospital, so he wanted to show everyone he was fine.
“I’m not a homebody,” he said about going back to work. “I can’t sit at home all day. When your boss tells you to stay home, you have to do it. I’ll be back soon.”
Pool was shot about an inch above his left knee cap, while Rodriguez had the bullet pass halfway up his left thigh.
Despite being shot, all three deputies said the incident on Jan. 14 won’t deter them from being part of the SWAT team in the future.
“I’ve always known what the danger and in all this could be. For me it doesn’t change anything,” Rodriguez said. “I’m going to take some time to heal up and come back out and continue serving as part of the team. We still have a job to do, so at the end of the day it doesn’t make anything different at all.”
Pool is part of the special investigative unit, while Smith is a criminal investigation division investigator and Rodriguez is a reserve officer. Rodriguez said he departed as a full-time deputy about seven months ago and went into the private sector with several individual businesses.
The Odessa American previously reported that 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.
The proceeds from the cookout will assist those deputies with any bills due to the shooting.
In addition to funds raised from the cookout, The Permian Basin Assist the Officer Foundation raffled off a 1 Sig Sauer P365 9mm Pistol, courtesy of Tejas Shooting Sports. Proceeds from the raffle tickets will also assist the deputies.
Sheriff Mike Griffis said as he looked over the crowd at the benefit that he’s grateful to be in a community that cares deeply about law enforcement agencies.
“I really don’t have the words to express my gratitude and thanks to the community for all the support that we had throughout my career and especially the last two weeks,” Griffis said. “We have a great community and a lot of good people in our community.”