By Walt Hunter
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Hundreds of police from Philadelphia and across the country formed a long blue line outside the funeral home at 52nd and Whitby Avenues in West Philadelphia where a viewing was held for murdered Philadelphia Police Officer Robert Wilson III.
Escorted by a Highway Patrol Motorcycle Honor Guard, family members arrived around 2 p.m., hugging and consoling each other outside, then gathering as officers, in procession, filed past them.
Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey says the 22nd District officer leaves behind a grieving family, including two sons, ages 10 and 1.
He had stopped by to purchase a gift for his oldest son who turned 10 on Monday.
In addition to Ramsey, Mayor Michael Nutter and other top officials, Eagles Coach Chip Kelly paid his respects, bringing a football for Wilson’s oldest son.
Outside the viewing, the murdered officer’s patrol car sat silent.
While across the street, officers and local residents signed a sketch of Wilson, created by a local artist as a memorial.
As KYW’s Dan Wing reports, Cincinnati and New York were among the departments that sent representatives in addition to men and women from police departments all throughout the Delaware Valley.
Commissioner Ramsey says Officer Wilson’s family has been touched by the numerous gestures from the city and its residents.
“And I think that when they look back on this they’ll really come to realize just how important he was to the city and to the department.”
The viewing will continue at 7 a.m. Saturday morning, following by a funeral service at the Palestra on the University of Pennsylvania campus.
Wilson will then be laid to rest in Fernwood Cemetery.
KYW Newsradio’s Dan Wing contributed to this report.