PHILADELPHIA, PA. (CNN) – Thousand turned out in west Philadelphia Saturday morning to say goodbye to a fallen hero.
Police departments from across the country paid their respects to officer Robert Wilson the Third.
He was shot and killed in the line of duty during an attempted robbery at a video game store.
A final farewell for one of Philadelphia’s finest…ever.
A march through west Philadelphia on Saturday morning, which included officials and dignitaries joining with the city’s police force, served as the very tip of the spear that would usher in thousands.
Friends, family, citizens and officers from departments across the country…all coming together to pay respects to one man: Philadelphia police officer Robert Wilson the Third.
A Philadelphia police officer told CNN: “Officer Wilson was willing to take the heat and sacrifice himself so that all the patrons in that store were able to walk out.”
On March 5, 2015, officer Wilson was buying a gift for his nine-year-old son at a GameStop in north Philadelphia.
Inside, by himself, he fought with two armed robbers, drawing fire away from patrons, and using his very last breath to save others.”
“He. Laid. Down. His. Life. For people in that store,” said Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia at officer Wilson’s memorial.
Inside the Palestra on Saturday afternoon, a tribute from those who witnessed his heroism.
Commissioner Charles Ramsey of the Philadelphia police dept. commented: “I’ve been in policing for 46-years and I have never witnessed an act of bravery like I saw that day.”
Wilson’s friends and fellow officers remember his warm smile and caring nature, making declarations to the family he left behind, and the one they now join.
“I will always be there for you. Just as I know Robert would have done for my family,” stated an emotional police officer.
As the pipes sounded for that final farewell, officer Wilson would leave posthumously promoted to sergeant, decorated with medals for honor and valor, beloved and hailed for trading his life so others could live.
“Robert F Wilson the Third… Is an American hero.”