Mural honoring fallen Philadelphia police officer defaced

75756A5E-120A-4932-810C-2FD980DB785E

UPDATED: 3:36 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A mural honoring a Philadelphia police officer killed in the line of duty has been vandalized. Police are working to find those responsible for defacing it.

Armed with spray paint and malice, vandals targeted the mural for fallen Philadelphia Police Sgt. Robert Wilson III at 61st Street and Baltimore Avenue.

"That's horrible, just horrible," said neighbor Lynette Donerson. She lives a few doors down from the vandalised mural, on the same block Wilson grew up on, in the Cobbs Creek section of the city.

She says this Southwest Philadelphia community loves and appreciates their hero, who was gunned down stopping a robbery at a North Philadelphia GameStop back in 2015.

"This is his neighborhood, so why would you think somebody in his neighborhood would desecrate something like that? Somewhere he grew up? It has to be outsiders," she charged.

The letters ACAB and FTP, representing anti-police language, were spray-painted on the mural.

"I've been in this neighborhood for four years and have never heard that before," said Donerson.

Philly Police are working to find out who is responsible for vandalizing a mural for fallen SGT. Robert Wilson III @KYWNewsradio @PhillyPolice pic.twitter.com/0lFZM5xSxw

— Justin Udo (@JustinUdo) August 30, 2020

Another neighbor, Caressa, agreed that the perpetrator is likely from outside the area. "I think it was somebody trying to stir up trouble, because this is his block. That's been there forever, We would never do that," she said.

She added that whoever is responsible should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

"Whomever did it, it should be a hate crime," she said.

Police guarding the mural from further destruction said they are sick and disgusted over what happened.

Detectives are asking anyone with video or information on the incident to contact them.

"I'm saddened and angered that vandals would deface the mural of one of our beloved heroes, Sgt. Robert Wilson III," said Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police President John McNesby in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the Wilson family on this sad day."

The FOP said city crews will arrive to scrub the mural clean early Monday morning.

Another mural honoring Wilson, in the Strawberry Mansion section of Philadelphia, was defaced last summer.