Nearly two months after he was killed in the line of duty, a funeral service was held Friday morning for Philadelphia Police Sgt. James O'Connor IV. The funeral was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fellow officers, wearing protective masks, saluted as his flag-draped casket was escorted into Our Lady of Calvary Church in Northeast Philadelphia, ABC reports.
His son, James O'Connor V, delivered a eulogy during the service, recognizing the impact of the pandemic. The few officers who were able to attend in-person maintained social distancing.
"This isn't the way we wanted to say goodbye to my father. It's just not fair. When the time is right, we'll give my father a proper send-off," said O'Connor V.
Mayor Jim Kenney and Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw each acknowledged the unusual circumstances as they spoke to the limited audience, which included O’Connor’s children — his son and daughter Kelsey, who is in the Air Force — as well as his wife Terri, his mother, and his father, a retired city police officer, Philly.com reports.
Kenney said: “The city has not, and the city will not, forget Cpl. James O’Connor. We won’t forget the sacrifices he made, or the sacrifices your family has made.”
Outlaw awarded O’Connor, a 23-year veteran, the department’s Medal of Honor, a Purple Heart, and the Medal of Valor, which is named after slain Sgt. Robert Wilson III. She hugged O’Connor’s wife, Terri, while presenting her the Medal of Honor, and said the other two commendations had been pinned to the uniform in which O’Connor was to be buried.
O’Connor was shot about 5:40 a.m. March 13 when he and other SWAT officers entered a rowhouse to search for Hassan Elliott, 21, who was wanted on an arrest warrant for a March 2019 homicide.
As O’Connor climbed the stairs to reach the second floor, authorities say, Elliott fired a rifle through a closed bedroom door. O’Connor was struck in an arm and shoulder and was taken to Temple University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.