Loved ones of Philadelphia Police SWAT Cpl. James O’Connor IV, killed in the line of duty in March, were finally able to gather for his funeral Friday, after a nearly two-month delay caused by the coronavirus crisis.
O’Connor, 46, was shot and killed the morning of March 13 as he and other officers served a homicide warrant at a home in the city’s Frankford neighborhood. The 23-year law enforcement veteran left behind a wife, a Philadelphia police officer son, a daughter who serves in the U.S. Air Force and a young granddaughter.
Friday’s private service, held at Our Lady of Calvary church in Northeast Philadelphia, was unlike those usually reserved for fallen officers.
Though a caravan of dozens of officers awaited outside the church, absent were the throngs of mourners usually seen inside. Instead, family members gathered at the front of the place of worship, while fellow officers wearing face masks – including Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw – were sparsely dispersed toward the back of the church, several pews apart.
“This is not the way we wanted to say goodbye to my father. It’s just not fair. When the time is right, we will give my dad a proper sendoff,” said son James "Jimmy" O’Connor V.
In attendance was also Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, who highlighted the elder O’Connor’s “exemplary” career and the devotion to his “extraordinary” family.
Outlaw asked that O’Connor’s sacrifice serve as inspiration to other officers serving the city of Philadelphia.
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At the end of the service, O’Connor’s casket, draped in an American flag, was carried outside to the awaiting police caravan.
“Dad, I promise that I will take care of everything. You made me into the man I am today,” O’Connor V said. “You will be missed by so many, and you will never be forgotten. I love you, dad. Until we meet again.”