Quahmier Wilson turned 10 years old Monday.
Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey attended Quahmier's birthday party at Dave & Buster's, then somberly participated in a vigil for the boy's father, Officer Robert Wilson III, who was killed in the line of duty last week.
"Obviously, he's struggling. He's struggling real hard," Ramsey said of Quahmier, the older of the officer's two sons.
Wilson, an eight-year officer assigned to the 22d District, was visiting a GameStop store at 21st Street and Lehigh Avenue on Thursday afternoon to buy a video game to reward his son for good grades when two armed men attempted to rob the business, located in a shopping center called Hope Plaza.
A gun battle erupted in the store, and the 30-year-old officer was mortally wounded. His alleged assailants were quickly captured and face murder charges.
The evening vigil outside the GameStop was organized by Mel Wells, president of One Day at a Time, a program for people with addiction problems or HIV, to show community support for the police, especially in light of numerous recent protests decrying fatal police shootings of African Americans.
"We've been seeing a lot of marches," Wells said. "We march about everybody else's problems but not about our problems," specifically "black-on-black violence." Wilson's alleged killers are African American.
"Not only did they take his life, they threw theirs away," Wells said.
Various speakers, including some who have had run-ins with the law, denounced violence and offered praise for police.
Rasheed Smith, 22, an outreach worker for Philadelphia CeaseFire, a group organized against gun violence, recalled that he had been involved with drugs and guns, and was sent to prison.
He expects to attend his first semester at Temple University later this year.
"Don't give up on yourself," he urged others caught up in criminal activity.
John McNesby, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, thanked the hundreds of people in the crowd for their show of support.
McNesby, who has been critical of the protests against police conduct, smiled as he listened to Smith.
The vigil included the release of 22 balloons in honor of the 22d District.
Dozens of officers from the district as well as other units also attended and welcomed the show of support.
Wells organized a group photograph next to the shuttered front of the store. He said he wanted President Obama and the rest of the nation to see the community coming together with police.
Ramsey said that "sometimes it takes a tragedy to bring people together."
But he also reminded everyone of the daily reality of gun violence in Philadelphia.
Before heading to the vigil, he stopped at the scene of a shooting in North Philadelphia that left "one dead and one nearly dead."
Said Ramsey, "That's the kind of nonsense that just has to stop."
To contribute to Memorial Fund
The Philadelphia Police Department and Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 have established a GoFundMe page for the family of Officer Robert Wilson III, who was killed Thursday in the line of duty. Those wishing to contribute to the fund can also do so in person or by mail.
To contribute online, visit GoFundMe at www.gofundme.
Donations can be made in person at the following Police and Fire Federal Credit Union branches: 901 Arch St.; 7604 City Ave.; 8500 Henry Ave.; 7500 Castor Ave.; 3300 Grant Ave.; and Leo Mall, Byberry and Bustleton Avenues.
Donations also can be made by check payable to "Robert Wilson III Family Memorial Trust Fund." Checks should be mailed to Police and Fire Federal Credit Union, 901 Arch St., Philadelphia 19107.