Hero Down: Philadelphia Police Corporal James O'Connor Murdered By Gunman
Philadelphia, PA – Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) Corporal James O’Connor was fatally shot in the line of duty while working to apprehend a murder suspect on Friday morning.
The 46-year-old corporal was a member of the SWAT team that converged on a home in the 1600-block of Bridge Street to serve an arrest warrant on a homicide suspect at approximately 5:50 a.m., The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
When the team entered the building, a gunman opened fire on them from behind a closed door, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw told reporters.
Cpl. O’Connor was hit in the shoulder, just above his ballistic vest, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
“These officers didn’t get a chance,” Commissioner Outlaw said, according to WHYY. “Gunfire erupted immediately as they walked in the door.”
Officers returned fire, wounding two male suspects who were behind the closed door, according to Commissioner Outlaw.
The subject of the arrest warrant was taken into custody, and was not one of the individuals who was shot when police returned fire, WCAU reported.
The suspects who were wounded were hit in their lower extremities and are expected to survive.
Cpl. O’Connor was rushed to Temple University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
“It’s a very sad day, not just for officers here, but it’s a very sad day for the family who is here and who is mourning and is still trying to stomach all this,” Commissioner Outlaw told reporters. “There’s not a word that you can put on the level of emotion that’s being felt right now.”
Cpl. O’Connor served the PPD for 23 years, and was a 15-year member of the department’s SWAT team, the agency said in a Facebook post on Friday morning.
He leaves behind a wife and two adult children.
Cpl. O’Connor’s daughter is a member of the U.S. Air Force, and his son is a fellow PPD officer, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
“These are people that leave their families, their loved ones, during holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, to protect complete strangers and to do work that’s a calling,” Commissioner Outlaw said. “These people are led to serve.”
“We stand with his family, friends, and everyone impacted by this senseless tragedy,” the PPD said.
District Attorney Larry Krasner was seen outside the hospital, but was turned away by PPD officers when he tried to go inside, according to WTXF.
“I'm here for the victim, for the victim's family, for any survivors, and also just to show how much we care about our law enforcement officers,” the notoriously anti-polce DA told reporters.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has ordered that city flags be lowered to half-staff for a period of 30 days in honor of Cpl. O’Connor, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
“Today, like every day, he demonstrated the ultimate form of heroism: putting out his uniform, leaving his family and carrying out his sworn duty to protect the residents of this city,” Kenney said in a statement, according to WCAU. “I share my deepest condolences with those who knew and loved Corporal O’Connor.”
“I would just ask everyone to keep this family in their prayers and keep all of our officers and their families in their prayers,” the mayor added, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. “It’s a tough job and they do their best for us every day.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Philadelphia Police Department Corporal James O’Connor, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Corporal James O’Connor, your life mattered.