PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia Police officer who was buying a gift for his son as a reward for good grades was shot and killed during a shootout with two suspects who were trying to rob a video game store in North Philadelphia on Thursday.
The suspects, identified as brothers Ramone Williams and Carlton Hipps, have been charged with first-degree murder, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said.
The fallen officer has been identified as Officer Robert Wilson III, an eight-year veteran of the force.
The incident happened at about 4:45 p.m. at the GameStop store at 22nd Street and Lehigh Avenue.
According to Ramsey, Officer Wilson, who was in full uniform, went into the store to buy his eight-year-old son a video game as a reward for good grades in school.
While Officer Wilson was in line, investigators say Williams and Hipps entered the store and announced a robbery.
About nine employees and customers were inside when Officer Robert Wilson confronted the men.
Police say Officer Wilson engaged the suspects and they exchanged gunfire. Police Homicide Captain James Clark said both suspects had semi-automatic weapons and were firing at Officer Wilson.
Clark said Officer Wilson continued firing at the suspects until he was shot in the head, which Clark said was the fatal shot.
The suspects then ran out of the store and got into another shootout with Officer Wilson’s partner, who was in a police cruiser outside the store.
Hipps was shot in the leg during the shootout. Williams, Clark said, ran back into the store and attempted to blend in with a crowd of five to six customers who were inside the store. Williams was eventually identified and taken into custody. Clark said Williams made a full confession.
According to Clark, Williams told investigators they didn’t see the police car outside the store and did not see Officer Wilson inside.
“He didn’t see car or officer inside until he announced robbery.”
Ramsey praised Officer Wilson’s actions for saving the lives of the customers and employees.
“After seeing the video of what happened in that store, he redefined what being a hero is all about,” Ramsey said.
A total of 50 gunshots were fired, Clark said.
Police said two weapons were recovered at the scene. The officer’s weapon was recovered as well. Clark said the semi-automatic weapons the suspects used were “bought off the streets.”
According to Ramsey, a warrant was executed at a home of one of the suspects in the 1200 block of N. Hollywood in connection with the case. Ramsey said an AK-47 was removed from the home.
Clark said Hipps, 30, has six prior arrests and Williams, 26, has two prior arrests.
In addition to the murder charges, both suspects face attempted murder, robbery and other related offenses.
Ramsey said Hipps is cuffed at the hospital with Officer Wilson’s handcuffs.
“This is a time when people are always looking at police and criticizing … this is a sober reminder of the kinds of dangers that police officers face on a regular basis,” Ramsey said.
Police say the 30-year-old Wilson leaves behind two children, a eight-year-old boy and a one-year-old, and his grandmother.
“I knew him and had met him. He was one of the best police officers this city has to offer period,” said Ramsey.
A small memorial outside the game stop at 22nd and Lehigh continues to grow.
Funeral arrangements for Officer Wilson are pending.
The flag outside the 22nd police district where officer Wilson worked was at half staff.
The deadly incident remains under investigation.