Reward money is pouring in for information leading to the arrest of two men believed to have shot and killed Officer Moses Walker Jr. early Saturday morning as he walked to the bus stop after finishing up his shift at the 22nd District in North Philadelphia. The fund, established Saturday by the city and Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 5, swelled from $35,000 yesterday to $67,000 at the beginning of a press conference this afternoon.
By the end of the press conference, it had grown to $69,500. A half hour after that, $71,500. Then $82,500. It is currently at $88,000 – and rising,
Unfortunately, information has not been flowing as freely. "We're asking for continued donations, but we're also asking for continued information," Mayor Michael Nutter said today as the Homicide Unit released chilling surveillance footage from a nearby business showing Walker's last moments.
"I think it's a wonderful thing [Walker's family] has the support of the FOP," said Mothers in Charge community liaison Doris Saunders, a friend of the victim's mother who described Walker as a "very nice, respectable young man" that loved his church and family. "Hopefully, they get the support of the community coming forward to say, 'Enough is enough.'"
The video made public today shows Officer Walker leaving the 22nd District station shortly
before 6 a.m. clad in a baseball cap, sweatshirt and shorts and carrying a backpack. "As
you see right there, he looks to his left a couple times and we believe
that's the first time he sees the suspect," Homicide Capt. James Clark
narrated as the footage showed Walker approaching the
1900 block of Cecil B. Moore Avenue. "Again, he keeps looking back. ...
There's our two suspects right there. They're following behind him.
They're on the other side of the street. They continue following behind
"Slightly out of view at the very top, you're going to see the first male, the first suspect, cross over Cecil B. Moore and that's when we believe he comes over and targets the police officer," Clark said. He said police have spoken to occupants of several passing vehicles
captured on film as well as a third man seen walking down the street, who is not believed to have any association with the suspects.
Investigators have determined that a robbery was announced and gunfire erupted when Walker drew his weapon in
an attempt to defend himself. He was shot three times – once each in the chest, stomach and hand.
They believe the crime was random. "Obviously, the way the officer was dressed, he was young-looking, he was dressed with a backpack on and shorts," Clark said. "He looked like a young civilian walking down the street and I believe that was why he was targeted. No reason for them to know he was a Philadelphia police officer."
They also believe it is likely that the suspects are from the area. "Six o'clock in the morning on a Saturday, we have to believe that individuals walking the streets at that moment to engage someone who they did not know more than likely do, in fact, live in the community or come from right across town," Nutter said.
And it may not be the first time the men have struck – police say there are several crews in the area that have been committing similar robberies. They have identified several of those individuals. "We're in the process of gathering them up, bringing them in and, one by one, we'll either find that they are doers or discount them," Clark said.
Saunders said the intense scrutiny borne from the investigation has made palpable to residents on the ground a heightened sense of urgency. "The
streets are on lockdown because the cops' presence is really being felt
right now," she said. "It felt good walking to the corner store and
having a cop nearby, but it's unfortunate that it takes a tragedy for that to happen."
Highway Patrol officers this morning arrested a man during a vehicle stop in North Philadelphia that could possibly lead to a break in the case. "He had an open arrest warrant for another robbery very similar in that area," Clark said. "We don't know if he's one of these males [in the video] or not, but obviously we're going to bring him in and we're going to talk to him."
Still, police are hoping someone will come forward in the meantime. "Though we don't have a good, clear view of the suspects, someone might know who they are just by their clothing, the way they walk, the fact that they happen to be hanging around that time of morning in that area on a regular basis," Commissioner Charles Ramsey said. "Let us decide whether or not any information you have is relevant."
Saunders, too, hopes someone will step up with information. "The community needs to learn to work hand in hand, not turn a blind eye," she said. "There comes a point and time if cops aren't safe when they're off-duty, how to we expect to be safe? The neighbors need to say, 'Enough is enough.' We're tired. We're losing our children.
"If officers, who are supposed to protect and serve us, are not safe, what
is the community coming to? Who's protecting them while they protect
Anyone with information is urged to call 911, contact the Homicide Unit at 215-686-3334 or 215-686-3335 or to submit an anonymous tip by dialing 215-686-TIPS (8477), texting PPDTIP (773847), emailing email@example.com or filling out a form on the department's website.
Additional reward fund donors include the Citizens Crime Commission, the city firefighter and paramedics union Local 22, Jennings and Sigman Law Firm, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters Metropolitan Regional Council and Philadelphia Vicinity, the state Fraternal Order of Police, city electricians union Local 98, James Binns, PGW workers union Local 686, the First Trust Bank and the Retired Police, Fire & Prison Guard Association.