Friends and family are remembering a fallen hero one year after his death.
On August 18, 2012, Philadelphia Police Officer Moses Walker Jr. was shot and killed during a robbery. Walker, a 40-year-old officer from the 22nd District and 19-year police veteran, was walking home after a shift around 6 a.m. on 20th and Cecil B. Moore Avenue.
"He had just gotten off work, and one of his coworkers offered him a ride and he said, ‘It’s a nice day out, I'll walk," said Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.
As Walker walked towards a bus stop, he was suddenly approached by two armed robbers who shot him several times, striking him in the chest and abdomen. When police arrived, they found Walker face down on the ground. He was taken to Hahnemann Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Chancier McFarland, 19, and Rafael Jones, 23, were later arrested and charged with Walker’s murder. Jones was on probation and just three days prior, he had reported to his probation officer Jose Rodriguez. During a civil hearing, Rodriguez testified that he asked his supervisor for a warrant to have Jones put back in prison for failing a drug test, but his supervisor said no.
The state says its investigation showed that all three probation officers--Jose Rodriguez, Rosa Hernandez and Michelle Rivera-- were at fault and all three were fired. The officers have fought to get their jobs back, claiming they were scapegoats. A decision has not been made however.
Walker’s family filed a federal lawsuit last year blaming the parole board for Walker’s death. While a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit, Walker’s mother, Wayne Lipscomb, planned to appeal.
"I know Moses was not the first case where they did not do their job, it was just at this time, my family took the loss," she said in an interview last March.
On Saturday, a memorial event was held for Walker from noon to 6 p.m. at the Harrison Plaza Recreation Center on North 10th and West Thompson Streets.
Walker, who had five siblings, had planned to retire in 2013.
"It's hard for us,” said Walker's cousin, Craig Seawright Sr. “It's going to be hard for our family to take this loss. We're going to be strong, keep our heads up, but it's going to be hard.”
"He was known as a very gentle individual, very kind, never had a harsh word for anyone. Many of his coworkers, the first thing they said was he wouldn't harm a fly,” said Commissioner Ramsey. “He was just a guy with one of those mellow personalities-- always smiling, always looking to help people and it's just tragic his life ended this way."