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Spade Gives $25K to Officer's Family

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TERRY TANG | October 9, 2007 05:54 AM EST | AP

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PHOENIX — David Spade has donated $25,000 to the family of a slain Phoenix police officer.

The 43-year-old comedian said that after reading about Officer Nick Erfle's death last month, he was "hit out of the blue" by the shooting and the fact that Erfle had overcome cancer to return to duty.

"I'm from Arizona so I'm always a little aware of things that are going on there," Spade, a Scottsdale native, told The Associated Press on Monday. "It just struck me as such a rough situation just because cops in general get kind of a bad rap lately and people forget it is the scariest job out there."

Spade, who stars on the CBS sitcom "Rules of Engagement," said he arranged for a money transfer into a bank account already established for public donations.

He has not spoken with Erfle's family or friends.

Spade said he hopes Erfle's wife was able to use the money for the funeral or other expenses. "I just thought I would throw something in the pile," he said.

Erfle, 33, was shot Sept. 18 on a busy street after attempting to arrest Erik Jovani Martinez. Martinez, a 22-year-old illegal immigrant who had been deported in March 2006, gave an alias to conceal an outstanding felony warrant. Unbeknownst to Martinez, the alias belonged to someone who also had an outstanding warrant.

Besides his wife, Erfle left behind two sons, ages 5 and 3.