BRISTOL, Conn. (WTNH) — Hundreds of people participated in a special 12-hour fundraiser Saturday to honor Bristol Police Lieutenant Dustin DeMonte and Sergeant Alex Hamzy, who were shot and killed in the line of duty in October. Investigators say they were ambushed.
Ascension Athletics Mixed Martial Arts hosted the Jiu Jitsu event, where proceeds went to helping the victims’ families.
Co-owner Dan Mina says they wanted to hold-off on the support right after the tragedy.
“What happens with these [fundraisers], they sometimes tend to be fleeting and everyone comes out hot. So, we wanted to wait a little bit and just keep it going,” Mina said.
When News 8 attended the event, organizers had already raised more than $5,000 with five hours left to go.
The fundraiser was held one day after Hamzy’s 35th birthday. He had just started Jiu Jitsu training at the gym months before his death.
“[The tragedy] not only impacted the gym because we’re part of the community, but it impacted the gym because [Hamzy] had some significant friends here, as well,” said Jeff Haddan, Ascension Athletics co-owner and head coach.
One of those friends was Alex Cugno, who tells us he grew up with Hamzy and went to school together.
“He’s a hero, first and foremost. Aside from that he was just a man with a heart of gold, a great friend, a productive member of this community, and a great police officer,” said Cugno.
“Just in the short time you’d get to know him, he was fun, personable. You can tell he was the kind of guy you want to hang out with,” said Haddan.
Ascension Athletics Mixed Marital Arts plans on making the fundraiser an annual event. Organizers say they will accept donations through the Dec. 17-18 weekend.