Memorial fund created for fallen police officer

Corporal James O’Connor IV

Funeral services for a Philadelphia police officer who was killed Friday have been postponed indefinitely due to fears over the COVID-19 virus, and a fund has been set up to support his family.

Cpl. James O’Connor, 46, was fatally shot while serving an arrest warrant for murder suspect Hassan Elliot on the 1600 block of Bridge Street in Frankford. He was the first city officer killed in the line of duty since 2015.

He was set to have a public viewing Thursday night at a Northeast Philadelphia funeral home before a second public viewing and Mass Friday morning at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul.

A Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 spokesman on Monday night told the Metro that O’Connor’s funeral has been postponed indefinitely. Police said the date and time of rescheduled services would be reevaluated in two weeks.

O’Connor, a SWAT officer, was hit by bullets fired through the closed door of a second-floor room. He was struck near his left shoulder blade and in his left forearm, police said.

Officer Patrick Saba returned fire, authorities said, hitting two people inside the room, including 18-year-old Khalif Sears, of East Germantown, who investigators believe conspired with Elliot on the homicide that occurred March 1, 2019, on the 5300 block of Duffield Street in Frankford.

Sears and Elliot, 21, also of East Germantown, have been charged with murder, weapons violations and other offenses related to the 2019 killing.

Another person inside the room, described as a 40-year-old man who lived in the Bridge Street house, was also shot by Saba, authorities said. He is being held on unrelated charges, police said.

It remains unclear who fired the bullets that killed O’Connor. Authorities recovered a total of 10 firearms from the second-floor bedroom.

Meanwhile, the FOP has established a memorial fund to support O’Connor’s family. The 23-year veteran of the department was married with a son who is a police officer and a daughter who is serving in the U.S. Air Force.

“The outpouring of support for James O’Connor IV, his family and the Philadelphia Police Department has been overwhelming,” FOP Lodge 5 President John McNesby said in a statement. “Residents and police officers all across the region are looking to aid and support the family.”

Anyone wishing to donate can send a check to the Corporal James R. O’Connor IV Memorial Fund at Philadelphia Police and Fire Federal Credit Union, 901 Arch St., Philadelphia, PA 19107.

A benefit for O’Connor that was scheduled for Friday night at the FOP’s Far Northeast headquarters has been postponed in light of the virus.