On Aug. 14, a shooting in North Philadelphia left six officers with gunshot wounds, two injured in an accident and two barricaded inside a building with an active shooter. On Aug. 29, community members and fellow law enforcement packed in at FOP 5 to honor their sacrifices.
“Six officers shot in one evening and they all go home. Two officers trapped on the second floor for hours and they go home. Officers in an auto accident, seriously injured, and they go home. Somebody was looking out for us. Thank you,” said FOP 5 President John McNesby.
The officers lined the stage while the ballroom full of people gave them standing ovations.
“I’m just glad I can be here with my family and friends and enjoy this moment,” said Shaun Parker, one of the officers who was shot.
“I understand how close we came and words can’t describe how happy I can be that I get to go home to my family,” he said.
Officer Justin Matthews also felt the appreciation.
“Overwhelmed and happy. The core of love is overwhelming and I’m so appreciative of everyone in Philadelphia and outside Philadelphia coming in,” he said.
Christine Coulter, the police department’s deputy commissioner acting as commissioner in light of Richard Ross’s resignation, commended the officers.
“I don’t think there’s enough hours in the day to speak about how proud I am of these officers,” she said to applause. “The world got to see the Philadelphia Police Department and the efforts of these officers and how they have handled themselves since.”
State Attorney General Josh Shapiro kept the high morale going with a speech that had the crowd cheering.
“They and every single man and woman in the police department know it is their job to run into danger when so many other people run away from it,” Shapiro said. “They are there for us, and we must stand for them.”
The Aug. 14 shooting resulted in a standoff that lasted nearly eight hours after police tried to enter a man’s home with an arrest warrant in the Tioga neighborhood and he opened fire, injuring six officers: Parker, Matthews, Joshua Burkitt, Michael Guinter, Nathaniel Harper and Ryan Waltman. All six officers were released from the hospital that night.
Local watch retail store Time After Time gifted the officers with blue watches engraved with their badge numbers. Founder Derek Koss said 10 percent of funds from watches purchased this month will go to the FOP Survivors Fund. ••