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A police procession for fallen Philadelphia Police Officer Robert Wilson III passed by campus Thursday night.

Credit: Luke Chen

Helicopters swarmed and police lights flashed as a procession for fallen Philadelphia Police Officer Robert Wilson III passed by campus around 38th and Spruce streets Thursday night. Wilson, 30, was shot at a North Philadelphia GameStop during an attempted robbery Thursday afternoon and died of his injuries at Temple University Hospital at 6:25 p.m.

“Any time a police officer is killed in the line of duty it really impacts whole law enforcement community,” Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush said. “This is one small sign of respect and sorrow police officers across the city will give to the fallen officer.”

Rush explained that when a police officer dies in Philadelphia, many police departments in the city — including Penn Police — join in a motorcade, following the body of the fallen officer from the hospital to the Medical Examiner’s Office.

“It is a hugely impactful situation whenever an officer dies,” Rush said. “It’s very sad and shocking. It just shows how much danger police are in when they patrol every day.”

Though Wilson and his partner were dressed in full police attire at the time when the two suspects announced the robbery, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said, “We don’t know if they knew he was a police officer or not. We suspect, perhaps, they did not.”

Wilson confronted the suspects, who began to shoot at him from either side at close range, NBC Philadelphia reported. Throughout the attack, Wilson returned the fire. One of the suspects was shot, but it is unclear if Wilson or the other suspect delivered the blow. The suspect was taken to Einstein Hospital and his partner was apprehended after fleeing the scene and trying to blend into the crowd, according to the NBC report.

“You never know what’s going to be on other side of call, so officers have to take extreme caution,” Rush said. “And even with extreme caution, sometimes it doesn’t work out. That’s what happened tonight.”

Wilson, who was an 8-year veteran of the 22nd District, is survived by two children — 1- and 9-years-old — and a grandmother.

“The whole Division of Public Safety and Philadelphia Police Department are praying for their family, and we are sharing pain of the Philadelphia Police Department right now,” Rush said.

Editor-in-Chief Jill Castellano contributed reporting.

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