They met briefly, and only once, but slain Philadelphia Police Officer Moses Walker Jr. left a lasting impression on Martin Eady.
“I thought he was a nice guy,” Eady said inside the Mount Airy Church of God in Christ Ministries in West Oak Lane on Friday. “He gave his life for the city.”
Eady, who lives in the neighborhood, was among a small group of residents who joined a larger one of uniformed officers, city officials and religious leaders for an afternoon memorial service.
Tribute to fallen police officers
His kind, but mournful words were echoed during the hour-long ceremony that both paid tribute to the 19-year veteran and underscored an unusually tragic year for the department.
“We’ve lost a cherished member of our community who did, in fact, do his service well every day,” said Mayor Michael Nutter. “Let us continue to try and emulate his service and give all that we can each and every day.”
As an enlarged photograph of Walker rested on an easel nearby, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey noted that the 40-year-old’s murder has “left a void in all of our lives.”
“I wish we weren’t here today, because I wish Moses was still here with us,” he continued. “This has been a very difficult period of time for all of us.”
The back story
Around 6 a.m. on Aug. 18, Walker was shot in the abdomen and chest as he headed home from a shift at the 22nd Police District in North Philadelphia, where he was posted. He was found on the 2000 block of Cecil B. Moore Avenue, just a few blocks away from district headquarters.
Walker — who was off-duty and in plainclothes at the time of shooting — was pronounced dead at Hahnemann University Hospital less than a half-hour later.
Two suspects have been arrested in connection to Walker’s death. Chancier McFarland, 19, and Rafael Jones, 23, are both facing murder charges. The pair was allegedly trying to rob Walker, who was the third off-duty officer to be killed in 2012.
In July, highway patrol Officer Brian Lorenzo died after he was struck by another driver, who was allegedly drunk at the time, on I-95 on his way home. A little more than a week later, Officer Marc Brady, who also served with the 22nd District, was killed after he was allegedly run over by a car while riding his bike.
“It’s really a sad time,” said Donna Seawright, Walker’s cousin, after the service.
Walker was set to retire from the department in June.