DENVER - It's not every day that a 5-year-old has the maturity to know how important and dangerous a police officer's job is. But on Wednesday, little JJ Shaver wanted to show one cop how much he means to him.
On Wednesday, JJ's father, Nathan, went to pick up JJ at school. When they were driving back home, JJ mentioned to Nathan how cops protect everyone and keep everyone safe. Nathan decided to use that opportunity to tell JJ about Officer Tony Lopez Jr.
Lopez Jr. was shot seven times Tuesday morning during a traffic stop near West 37th Avenue and Federal Boulevard in Denver. He was rushed to Denver Health in critical condition and has since undergone three major surgeries.
Nathan told JJ about Officer Lopez getting shot.
"Oh no, by a bad guy," JJ asked his dad Nathan. "Where is he? Can I see him?"
Nathan told the upset JJ that he probably couldn't go see him, but that they might be able to thank him for his service to the community. So Nathan turned the car towards Denver Health.
"The fact that he wanted to do this was special to me," Nathan told 9NEWS. "He's the sweetest boy in the whole world."
They pulled into the hospital's parking lot right as Denver Police Officer White was pulling into the parking lot.
At that point, they recorded this short-but-sweet message to Officer Lopez Jr. from JJ: http://on.fb.me/1QBlxJT.
Officer White asked little JJ if he wanted to be a big, strong police officer when he grew up, but JJ is unmoved in his current desire to become a firefighter.
Officer White tried to convince him otherwise by giving him a Denver Police Department hat. Nathan said JJ and that hat have been inseparable ever since. The jury is still out on whether or not the hat has swayed his career path. But he's got some time to decide that.
For those curious, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said that Officer Lopez Jr. is in great spirits and is recovering nicely, despite losing nearly his entire blood supply as a result of the shooting. The suspect who allegedly shot Officer Lopez Jr. is in police custody.
A fund was established at the Rocky Mountain Law Enforcement Federal Credit Union, account number 23017285. Donors can call 303-458-6660. If mailing a donation, send it to 700 W. 39th Ave, Denver, CO, 80216, in care of Officer Lopez.
Bonfils Blood Center has set up a special code - #7281, for community members who wish to donate in honor of Officer Lopez. You can also donate by mentioning the Officer Lopez Honorary Blood Drive at any of the six community donor centers.
Appointments to donate can be made by calling 303-363-2300 or at bonfils.org.
(© 2015 KUSA)