When we look back at 2015, these are the stories that we will remember most.
On March 5, Officer Robert Wilson stopped in to a North Philly Gamestop for a security check and to buy a game for his son’s birthday. Minutes later two armed gunmen ran inside to rob the store. Instead, they fatally shot Wilson as he tried to stop them. Both were arrested minutes later.
In the months since, Wilson was promoted to sergeant and received heartfelt memorials from the city, from fellow police, and even from President Barack Obama. A hero plaque was dedicated at the scene of Wilson’s death, and a new medal of valor was renamed in his honor for his efforts to protect customers inside the store at risk to his own life.
Jim Kenney ditched his City Council seat after 23 years just four months before the Democratic primary for mayoral candidates, and almost immediately became the front-runner.
Kenney ran a Barack Obama-style progressive hope-and-change campaign. After a landslide win in May and a perfunctory campaign against the Republicans, he is set to take the reins at City Hall Jan. 4.
The ongoing legal issues of the Fattah family ramped up significantly in 2015. Seven-term Congressman Chaka Fattah Sr. was indicted on fraud charges in July — one year to the day after his son was indicted on fraud charges — and is now fighting the case while continuing to occupy his office in Washington D.C. and preparing for a reelection campaign in 2016.
Meanwhile, Fattah Jr., after acting as his own lawyer despite his lack of legal training, was convicted in November. He is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 2 and is expected to face around four years.
4. Pope Francis
After months of anticipation, Francis, the “cool pope,” descended on Philadelphia in September, bringing thousands of devout Catholics to be in the presence of the Holy Father and to attend the World Meeting of Families.
For locals, the Pope’s visit was either a chance to make or lose money, depending on your line of business. For taxpayers, it was recently revealed that the city picked up half the event’s tab — approximately $8 million. Was it worth it? That depends on how much you like the Pope.
5. Amtrak #188
An Amtrak traveling at dangerous speeds hit a curve in Port Richmond and derailed in May, causing a crash that killed eight and left hundreds hurt. The tragedy led to national attention and raised the issue of rail safety.