It was three years ago that Sgt. Robert F. Wilson III entered a North Philly GameStop for a routine security check and to buy his son a gift. He never walked out.
On Monday, March 5, the third anniversary since Wilson, 30, died in a hail of gunfire as he tried to protect customers from a pair of armed robbers who coincidentally entered the store while he was inside, his fellow officers and friends held a vigil in Wilson’s honor inside the 22nd District.
They also unveiled a new oil portrait of Wilson, who was promoted to sergeant after his death.
Wilson was also posthumously awarded a Medal of Valor by President Barack Obama in 2016, as well as a Philadelphia Medal of Valor award by the police department, which was renamed the Robert F. Wilson Medal in his honor.
Police forensic artist Jonny Castro painted the portrait of Wilson, depicting him in life wearing the sergeant stripes and medals that he was awarded after his death.
On March 5, 2015, Wilson reportedly moved toward the two suspects, brothers Carlton Hipps and Ramone Williams, drawing their attention away from customers and employees, and told them to stand down, before both opened fire, shooting Wilson fatally.
“When you look at the actions of the officer, I think he redefines what a hero is all about,” former Commissioner Charles Ramsey previously said of Wilson. “I’ve been in policing for 46 years. I have never witnessed an act of bravery like what I saw that day.”
Williams and Hipps were arrested shortly afterward and are scheduled to go on trial facing first-degree murder and robbery charges on April 23.