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Fallen Sergeant Robert Wilson III (Philadelphia Police Department, PA)

Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor

Officer Robert Wilson III is posthumously honored for placing himself in the line of fire during a robbery, without regard for his personal safety, in order to protect store employees and customers.

On March 5, 2015, Officer Wilson was conducting a security check inside the GameStop store on West Lehigh Avenue when he decided to make a purchase for his son's birthday. His partner, Officer Damien Stevenson, remained outside in a marked police car. Two suspects walked past the police car, entered the store, drew handguns, and announced a robbery. They then began firing at Officer Wilson, who was standing at the register with four customers and three store employees. Officer Wilson made the courageous decision to move away from the counter where cover and concealment were readily available, drawing the attention of the shooters to himself and away from the civilians. Despite being struck by several bullets, Officer Wilson engaged in a fierce gun battle until he was gravely wounded.

On hearing the gunfire, Officer Stevenson got out of his police car and confronted the armed suspects as they tried to flee the store. He opened fire and struck one suspect in the leg. The second suspect ran back inside the store and attempted to blend in with the crowd behind the counter by removing his hooded sweatshirt and discarding his weapon. With additional officers now on the scene, both men were taken into custody.

Officer Wilson was taken to Temple University Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. Both suspects have been charged with murder and related offenses. During this deadly encounter, no employees or customers were injured due to the swift and decisive actions taken by Officer Wilson.

Date Published: September 8, 2020