PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The first Philadelphia police officer has died from the coronavirus. Mayor Jim Kenney said Monday Philadelphia Police Lt. Jimmy Walker lost his life to COVID-19 over the weekend.
Kenney called the 59-year-old Walker a “hero.”
The City of Philadelphia mourns the loss of one of our own today due to COVID-19.
Lt. Jimmy Walker of the Philadelphia Police Department’s Traffic Division passed away on Sunday. Our condolences are with his loved ones and @PhillyPolice during this tragic time. pic.twitter.com/R19wpYLPuH
— Jim Kenney (@PhillyMayor) April 6, 2020
“This weekend, we lost a friend, a colleague, a family member, and a hero. We lost Lt. Jimmy Walker of the Philadelphia Police Department’s Traffic Division. The pain for Lt. Walker’s brothers and sisters on the force is compounded by their recent loss of Sgt. James O’Connor — another life that could not be mourned fully due to the restrictions surrounding COVID-19. This is a heartbreaking reminder that the virus is affecting people throughout our community, especially those on the frontlines,” Kenney said.
It’s not known how Walker contracted the virus.
Everyone at the U.S. Attorney's Office mourns the loss of Philadelphia Police Lt. James Walker, who died yesterday from the coronavirus. Lt. Walker was a three-decade veteran of the Department. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
— US Attorney William M. McSwain (@USAttyMcSwain) April 6, 2020
“The death of a Philadelphia police officer as a result of COVID-19 is deeply saddening to all Philadelphians. Lieutenant Jimmy Walker served in the Police Department’s Traffic Division, and was a well-respected and well-liked member of the department,” Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Lt. Walker’s family today, and our gratitude is with every city worker and health care professional working to keep us safe. Remember to please stay home, or keep your social distance if you must go out for essential tasks. We must flatten the curve.”
The Philadelphia Police Department says Walker, a three-decade veteran, was set to retire in December.
Walker had worked in eight different police districts, including internal affairs and the narcotics task force. During his last duty, he was stationed as a member of the traffic division.
“We are unsure how and where Lt. Walker contracted the coronavirus, but we will continue to do all we can to protect the men and women serving on the front lines,” Kenney added.
Eyewitness News cameras recorded crews in full protective gear cleaning out police vehicles at the traffic division.
City officials did not confirm whether or not this cleaning is related to Walker’s infection.
“Losing Lieutenant James Walker to complications from COVID-19 is deeply painful,” said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw. “The loss of his life illustrates the commitment that he and members of the Philadelphia Police Department have to serve the communities of this city, even in times of unprecedented risk and challenge. Lt. Walker devoted nearly 33 years to serving the communities in Philadelphia. I appreciate his and other members’ commitment.”
Walker died Sunday at Abington Hospital.
Walker is survived by his wife, adult daughter and grandchildren.
City officials say they will take appropriate measures to determine whether or not this was a line of duty death.
CBS3’s Joe Holden and Greg Argos contributed to this report.