Saying Goodbye to Officer John Pawlowski

Family and friends mourn loss, begin to say goodbye

A heartbroken city turns its eyes to the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter & Paul as funeral services are set to begin for Officer John Pawlowski.

A viewing will be held from 7 a.m. - 11 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial will begin at 12 p.m.

Internment will follow funeral services at Resurrection Cemetery (5201 Hulmeville Road, Bensalem). will be showing Live Video of the entire service on Friday. Click here to sign up to recieve an email alert when coverage begins.
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Family, friends and officers began to say goodbye to Officer Pawlowski at a life celebration held Thursday evening.

Fellow officers stood in formation in front of the John F. Givnish Funeral Home on Academy Road in Northeast Philadelphia as officers from the 35th District marched together in a show of force.

Mayor Michael Nutter and Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey led the somber charge of 35th District officers from Archbishop Ryan High School to the funeral home. Officer Pawlowski was a graduate of Archbishop Ryan and served in the 35th.

Nutter then offered the support of the entire city to Pawlowski's wife, Kimberly.

"I told her that we will never leave her side. That we take care of our public employees and that she will always be surrounded with our love and support. And that we will be there, with her, every step along the way," Nutter said.

Thursday's viewing is just one of the many services held in the officer's honor this past week as the city mourns the loss of one of it's finest.

St. Anselm’s Church was at capacity Monday night as the community came together to honor the life of Officer John Pawlowski in a special memorial service.

Many were forced to stand through the service, including Mayor Michael Nutter and Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.

The Loss of an Officer

Officer Pawlowski, 25, and his partner were shot while responding to a report of a fight at Broad and Olney Streets in North Philly around 8 p.m. Friday.

Pawlowski was struck several times in the chest. He was rushed to Albert Einstein Medical Center where he died. His partner was grazed, but was able to return fire. He struck the suspect.

33-year-old Rasheed Scrugs has been arrested and charged with Pawlowski's murder. He has also been charged with the attempted murder of his partner.

Scrugs, a convicted felon, has nine priors including armed robbery, stolen car and drug arrests, police said. He was attempting to rob a “hack” or unlicensed cab driver when police arrived, according to authorities.

The victim of the attempted robbery told police that Scrugs threatened him saying, “I will shoot you and the police.”

Family Speaks Out

Officer Pawlowski's brother, Cpl. Bob Pawlowski read a brief statement following the memorial service Monday. While fighting back tears, he thanked family and friends for their support as his sister-in-law clutched a photo of John and his wife Kimberly.

"This is obviously a difficult and trying time for our families. Fortunately, we are blessed with very large families, wonderful friends and outstanding neighbors. All of them have come together to support us at this time. We all ask for your good thoughts, your prayers for Johnny, for Kimmy and for their future child," he said.

Cpl. Pawlowski works in the radio room at Police Headquarters. He rushed to the scene of the shooting last Friday night after hearing his brother was in trouble.

Photo Memorial Controversy

A memorial of Officer Pawlowski was at the center of a firestorm after a Philadelphia judge turned over a photo of the officer while holding court inside the 35th Police District Tuesday.

Philadelphia Judge Craig Washington said the memorial, which was on display in an area used for court, was inappropriate and asked the officers to remove the photos and flowers. When officers refused, he turned the photos on their face, witnesses said.

Officers and the public were outraged by the incident. The F.O.P. called the judge's actions a disgrace and 35th District Captain John McClosky said the judge is "probably a reason why the city is like this with so many repeat offenders being out there."

Over 300 people left their thoughts about the incident. The memorial was put back up briefly after and was left on the bench, though moved to the side, when another judge held court on Wednesday.

A City Heartbroken

At St. Anslem's on Sunday, churchgoers who didn't even know the expecting father expressed their sorrow.

“These guys uniforms aren’t even protecting them. I could just cry,” said one churchgoer who didn’t know the officer.

Facebook has also become a spot for those mourning Officer Pawlowski to grieve together. A group has sprung up that already has more than 10,000 members and some members have posted pictures of the officer.

The scene of the shooting has become a place to mourn and rally. A memorial has been growing since Saturday with strangers and fellow officers stopping by to leave a memento or take a moment to honor his sacrifice.

Others chose to stand in vigil Sunday afternoon, asking for peace.

“We have a handle on what’s causing it. It’s just a disrespect for, not only the law, but for one another,” an activist told the crowd of residents and officers.

Philadelphia taxi drivers opened their hearts and wallets to help the family of the murdered officer, as well. 

John Hough of the Taxi Workers Alliance collected money from cabbies outside 30th Street Station Sunday.

Strong Words for Criminals

Officer Pawlowski, a newlywed who was expecting his first child, is the fifth Philadelphia Police officer to be killed in the line of duty in the past 10 months. He is a graduate of Archbishop Ryan High School. His father and brother are both Philadelphia Police officers.

Mayor Nutter asked for the public's help in preventing further tragedies Monday night by turning over information about those who have an illegal weapon.

"That person should not have had a weapon. We're not stepping back on these issues at all. We're going to continue pushing forward to make this a safer city, but we need to protect our police officers as well," he said following the officer's memorial service Monday.

The mayor also told NBC10's Steve Highsmith that there never is an excuse for violent offenders who think they can shoot their way out of an encounter with police officers during NBC10 Live at Issue Sunday.

“This is not about violating anyone's 2nd Amendment rights, but the fact of the matter is, is that Pennsylvania has some of the weakest gun safety regulations anywhere in the United States of America,” he said.  “This is about politics and playing politics with other people's lives."

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