A uniformed Philadelphia police officer inside a Gamestop video game store was murdered Thursday afternoon when two men stormed the store intending to carry out a robbery.
Officer Robert Wilson III, an eight-year veteran of the force, was working in full uniform with his partner when the two suspects, who are both in custody but have not been identified, entered.
The shooting occurred around 4:40 p.m. in North Philadelphia inside a Gamestop at 21st Street and Lehigh Avenue.
According to police commissioner Charles Ramsey, when the suspects announced the robbery, Wilson immediately engaged the suspects — who fired on him from both sides.
“Both individuals … I am told, were on both sides of him firing at close range,” Ramsey said.
The suspects were carrying a 9mm and a .40-caliber handgun, one of which had an extended clip.
Despite being shot at from both sides Wilson was able to shoot back, Ramsey said, before being hit multiple times himself.
One of the suspects was wounded and transported to Albert Einstein Medical Center. Police did not confirm whether Wilson shot the suspect.
The call of “officer down” went out at 4:45 p.m. as Wilson was transported to Temple University Hospital in “extremely critical condition” where he was pronounced dead at 6:25 p.m.
Wilson, the father of an nine-year-old boy and one-year-old baby, was assigned to the 22nd District, and was known personally by Ramsey.
“He was one of the best police officers this city has to offer, period. A very, very brave and heroic individual,” Ramsey said outside Temple University Hospital just before 8 p.m. “A nine-year-old boy is going to grow up without a dad because of what happened today.”
Wilson was remembered as a “leader” by 22nd district captain Robert Glenn.
“Officer Wilson was an outstanding officer,” Glenn said just before 8 p.m. Thursday. “He was a leader of his squad.”
Mayor Michael Nutter asked the public to pray for Wilson’s family.
“Our officers are valiant. Our officers are strong,” Nutter said outside Temple University Hospital. “Never forget him.”
The suspects’ names were not released by police.
Ramsey said both suspects were known to police. One had five prior convictions and the other had one, he said.