SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Five years ago, Scranton Police Department patrolman John Wilding was killed in the line of duty. He was 29 years old.
Wilding spent more than a year with the department and continues to be remembered. Hanging on the wall in Patrice Wilding’s dinning room is a drawing of her brother. The two were very close.
“The phone call came in the middle of the night, while we were sleeping and it’s pretty much the nightmare scenario that people imagine,” Patrice said.
Patrice’s best friend passed away on July 12th, 2015. Two days before his death, Wilding responded to an armed robbery. During a foot pursuit with three suspects, Wilding suffered a head injury.
In 2017, the teens were charged with third-degree murder and burglary. All were sentenced to nine to 18 years behind bars. Patrice was in court for the trials.
“I was eight months pregnant and I had like, hand on my very, very big, full belly and you know told them that I hope they think of my brother and my son who is going to be named for him while they are serving their time,” Patrice said.
Her son is now two years old and Patrice says Johnny is the perfect name.
“He very much embodies my brother especially at that age,” Patrice said.
“John was our first hire when I became chief and he was, you know, a special kind of individual that was really the epitome of what community policing is and should be,” said Scranton Police Department Chief Carl Graziano.
On Sunday, family, friends and the Scranton Police Department paid their respects at Wilding’s grave site.
“We still have to do these memorials every year to make sure new officers coming on to the department remember who he was and what he stood for and make sure he was never forgotten,” Graziano said.
Wilding’s name will be forever engraved on a memorial outside of the department.