An eight-year veteran police officer from Philadelphia was shot and killed on Thursday, after he was called to a robbery taking place at a North Philadelphia GameStop outlet.
The officer, Robert Wilson III, who was with the 22nd District, died after he was shot at close range several times by a man attempting to rob the store.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey spoke to reporters about the tragic loss of the officer saying, “Take a moment and say a prayer for this family. And this 9-year-old boy who will now grow up without a father. A 1-year-old is going to grow up without a dad because of what happened today.”
Wilson arrived with his partner at the store, located at the Hope Plaza Shopping Center on 2101 West Lehigh Avenue at 4:30 pm. The two armed men appeared from nowhere and shot Wilson.
It is not clear whether the would-be robbers knew Wilson was a cop, as Ramsey said, “We don’t know if they knew he was a police officer or not. We suspect, perhaps, they did not.”
An employee, Sharon Coffield, who was at the store at the time of robbery told reporters, “My assistant manager ran to the door. She was getting ready to pull down the bleachers and that’s when she saw the cop out there shooting!”
After Wilson’s partner realized that Wilson was being shot at, he returned fire at the suspects, as Coffield added, “Whoever was in the GameStop, they must’ve been shooting out. And he was like, shooting in. And he was running across the lot.”
In speaking about the loss of one of their own, Ramsey added, “I knew him. He was one of the best police officers this city has to offer. A very, very brave, heroic individual. Even though he was struck multiple times he was able to continue to fire.”
The suspect who was shot by Wilson’s partner was taken to the Einstein Hospital, although it is not clear what his condition is at this stage.