Suspect still at large; reward offered
A $30,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect in the shooting death of an off-duty Philadelphia Police officer early Saturday morning, August 18.
Police said Officer Moses Walker Jr., 40, a 19-year veteran who was up for retirement this year, had just completed his shift at the 22nd District at 17th Street and Montgomery Avenue when he was shot several times around 6 a.m. in the 2200 block of Cecil B. Moore Avenue in North Philadelphia. Walker, who was not in uniform, monitored a holding cell at the district. He was taken to Hahnemann University Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said Walker, who was a deacon at Deliverance Evangelistic Center at 2001 West Lehigh Ave., was walking westbound on Cecil B. Moore Avenue when he was approached by a suspect. Ramsey said robbery may have been a motive. Reportedly, Walker was found face down and lying on his unholstered gun
A graduate of Ben Franklin High School, Walker graduated from the police academy in 1993. He had been stationed at the 22nd District since 1994.
Walker, who was not married and had no children, is survived by his mother and five siblings.
In a prepared statement, Mayor Michael Nutter said the city is offering a $20,000 reward and the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 is offering a $10,000 reward.
“For the third time this year, Philadelphians and members of the Philadelphia Police Department have been visited by tragedy with the violent death of a respected, veteran police officer,” said Nutter’s statement. “I am calling on all Philadelphians with information about Officer Walker’s death to help the police identify the suspect and bring that person to justice. To that end, the city of Philadelphia is offering a $20,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of the suspect in the murder of Officer Walker. I have also ordered that all city flags be lowered to half-staff in honor of Officer Walker.
In addition, the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 is offering a $10,000 reward for the arrest of the suspect in the case.”
Nutter also said three other homicides occurred in the city late Friday night and early Saturday morning. Police said there were no witnesses or known motives in those murders.
The first death came at 11:40 p.m. when a 47-year-old male was shot once in the head on West Rockland Street in Logan. The victim was taken to Einstein Medical Center by police and pronounced dead at 11:58 p.m.
The second homicide occurred on the 4900 block of W. Girard Avenue when a man in his 20's was shot at 2:19 a.m. while inside a green Toyota Camry. The victim was shot multiple times and pronounced dead the scene by medics.
The third death came at 3:40 a.m. on the 2200 block of S. 63rd Street when a 23-year-old man was shot once in the back and once in the right arm. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene by medics.
“I also want to note that Officer Walker’s tragic death this morning comes following a night where three civilian Philadelphians lost their lives to senseless gun violence,” said Nutter. “We offer our condolences and prayers to the families of these men.
“We will not make headway in dramatically reducing the scourge of gun violence and the proliferation of illegal guns until we as a community stand together and offer all information that we have on the perpetrators of violence in our city.”
Ramsey said Walker's death is a blow for a department still mourning the loss of Highway Patrol motorcycle officer Brian Lorenzo, who was killed last month in a wrong-way crash on Interstate 95.
"We literally just removed the mourning bands from our badges last week for Officer Lorenzo, and now it appears we may be putting them right back on again, so it's tough," said Ramsey. "This department has been through an awful lot. In just the 4½ years that I've been here, this would be the seventh officer we've lost, which is more than some departments get in 20 years."
From 2006 to 2009, eight officers died in the line of duty from either gunfire or vehicular assault. Half of those deaths occurred in 2008, two of them when stolen vehicles rammed their cruisers.
The general homicide rate in Philadelphia has risen sharply in recent years. After falling to more than 300 a year in 2009 and 2010, the City of Brotherly Love recorded 324 homicides last year and is reporting just under one homicide every day so far this year.
In May 2006, Officer Gary Skerski became the first officer slain in the line of duty in Philadelphia in a decade when he was shot responding to a robbery at a bar.
In October 2007, Officer Chuck Cassidy, 54, was shot to death when he interrupted a robbery at a Dunkin' Donuts.
In May 2008, 39-year-old Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski was shot and killed following a bank robbery.
A few months later, 30-year-old Officer Patrick McDonald was shot and killed by a fugitive he had chased down after a traffic stop.
Officer Isabel Nazario was killed in September 2008 when a teenager crashed a stolen SUV into her cruiser. Sgt. Timothy Simpson, 46, was killed in November 2008 when a man fleeing police in a stolen car hit his vehicle.
In 2009, Officer John Pawlowski, 25, was killed while responding to the attempted robbery of a cab driver despite wearing a bulletproof vest.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.