Hero Down: Philadelphia Police Lt. James 'Jimmy' Walker Dies From Coronavirus
Philadelphia, PA – Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) Lieutenant James “Jimmy” Walker died on Sunday after contracting COVID-19.
The 59-year-old lieutenant, a 33-year veteran-of-the-force, was serving as a supervisor in the department’s traffic division at the time of his death, WCAU reported.
He planned to retire in December, according to KYW.
Lt. Walker succumbed to the novel coronavirus while hospitalized at Abington Hospital-Jefferson Health on Sunday night, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
He was also suffering from an underlying medical condition when he fell ill, KYW reported.
“This weekend, we lost a friend, a family member, a hero,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney told the news outlet. “Any death is tragic, but today, it hits close to home. We have seen the first death in our family of City employees.”
“This is a heartbreaking reminder that the virus is affecting people throughout our community—especially those on the frontlines,” Kenney added.
Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) President John McNesby released a statement expressing his condolences over the loss of the veteran officer.
“It’s with a heavy heart that we send our deepest condolences to this officer’s family,” McNesby said, according to KYW. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the entire Philadelphia police department. We should never forget the sacrifices of our officers and those on the front-lines battling this pandemic and working tirelessly to keep our great city safe.”
Lt. Walker’s wife of 36 years, Vita Walker, said that her husband was struggling to breathe and was admitted to the hospital on March 27, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
His COVID-19 test came back positive the following day, and his health continued to decline in the days that followed.
Lt. Walker was ultimately placed on a ventilator.
Vita said she was unable to see her husband after he was admitted to the hospital because she is asymptomatic, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
A nurse was by his side when he succumbed to the disease, Vita said.
“He was a good man,” the grieving widow told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “He was a man among men.”
In addition to his wife, Lt. Walker also leaves behind his daughter and grandchildren, according to KYW.
“The loss of his life illustrates the commitment that he and members of the Philadelphia Police Department have to serve the communities of this city, even in times of unprecedented risk and challenge,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said in a statement in the wake of Lt. Walker’s death.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Philadelphia Police Department Lieutenant James “Jimmy” Walker, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.