ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Albuquerque was shocked after bartender Steve Gerecke was gunned down in his driveway by a group of teens police say was out on a crime spree. The shock and anger turned into an outpouring of support, and Thursday morning, Gerecke’s family gave a gift to the Albuquerque Police Department Chaplain Unit.
“What touched me the most was when I was told that Steve was gone, they had a chaplain for me and he stayed with me. He helped me get my dog. He helped me get to my daughters. He helped me tell my daughter that Steve was gone and he helped keep us together,” said Vinnie Gerecke, Steve’s widow, as her voice cracked during a check presentation.
The Gerecke family presented a $4,000 check to the Albuquerque Police Department Chaplain Unit. Money was raised and donated in Steve’s memory in lieu of flowers.
“I kind of think of them as God’s soldiers marching against evil,” said Vinnie about the chaplains.
“This is a family that’s gone through an unspeakable event, but this is a family that’s held strong,” said APD Chief Gorden Eden.
Ann Montoya, APD command chaplain, said, “They’re giving when they’ve lost, and it’s got to be very painful for them, yet they’re so appreciative, and so it’s our blessing to receive that and it’s very humbling.”
Gerecke’s widow said she’s certain of one thing.
“We know he’s smiling at what we did here today,” she said.
Other donations were made to the New Mexico School for the Blind in memory of Steve Gerecke. The official memorial funds have been closed, but the family encourages anyone who would still like to donate to those organizations.
APD arrested six young suspects, ranging in age from 14 to 17, after Gerecke’s murder in late June. Detectives have identified the shooter as Jeremiah King, 16.
The family has created a Facebook page dedicated to following developments in the upcoming trials.