Bensenville police officer shot 9 times responding to domestic dispute 'lucky to still be alive'

BENSENVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- A suburban police officer is battling to recover after being shot while on the job in Bensenville earlier this month.

Officer Steven Kotlewski has been in the hospital for nearly two weeks now. His mother-in-law said his long road to recovery is being helped by tremendous community support.

Officer Kotlewski is a big family man with his hands full with three young children at home. But now that he is hospitalized after being shot nine times responding to a domestic dispute, even more of the burden falls on his wife Crystal.

She spoke publicly about the family's ordeal for the first time Wednesday night at a political fundraiser.

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"I'm sad because my husband was shot nine times and he's one of the lucky ones. Lucky to still be alive," she said. "But none of that answers the question I get asked daily, which is: When is Daddy coming home?"

His family and friends said the wounded officer is a talented athlete, artist and musician, as well as a dedicated police officer.

"Just the outpouring of love and help and prayers has been amazing," said his mother-in-law Catherine Stachura.

Officer Kotlewski's family said not only are they praying for him, but also for the family of the man charged with shooting him. Kionte Tyler, 21, is charged with attempted murder. He allegedly hit Officer Kotlewski with eight shots in the legs arm and torso, with his vest stopping another.

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"Without that vest, I think we'd be looking at a more bleak picture," said family friend Richard Blass.

Last night's fundraiser for DuPage County Board Member Pete DiCianni raised about $10,000 for the family, adding to nearly $170,000 raised so far by GoFundMe.

"I think everybody's rallying around this officer," DiCianni said. "People have a big heart when it hits home."

"It's hard for [Crystal]," Stachura added. "Every police officer's wife thinks about this and like to think it's not going to happen to me."

His family said Kotlewski still has more surgeries and a long road ahead. However, it's still unclear whether he will be able to return to his job as a police officer.
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