Northeast Times

Healing hands

Com­munity ral­lies around wounded po­lice of­ficer by giv­ing blood and of­fer­ing pray­ers. 

  • Doing it for Davies: Officer James Middleton prepares to have his blood taken by the Red Cross staff at Temple Administration building. He is participating in the blood drive organized for Officer Davies, who is still recovering from a gunshot wound. MARIA POUCHNIKOVA / TIMES PHOTOS

  • Help is on the way: More than 1,500 officers and police commanders took part in a two-day blood drive at Temple Hospital for Officer Davies. Above, donors wait for their turn to give blood. MARIA POUCHNIKOVA / TIMES PHOTOS

  • Deacon Steve Guckin and the Rev. Michael Speziale pray a healing Mass at Christ the King Parish on Saturday for Officer Davies. DONNA DIPAOLO / FOR THE TIMES

  • Philadelphia Police Officer Joe Hansbury prays during the Mass. DONNA DIPAOLO / FOR THE TIMES

  • Officer Edward Davies remains in stable condition at Temple University hospital recovering from a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

Hun­dreds of wor­shipers con­greg­ated at Christ the King Church in Mor­rell Park on Sat­urday af­ter­noon to pray for the re­cov­ery of severely wounded Po­lice Of­ficer Ed­ward Dav­ies, but the Rev. Mi­chael Speziale called upon them to take their pray­ers a step fur­ther.

The par­ish priest asked that the gath­er­ing of po­lice, church mem­bers and well-wish­ers also pray for the heal­ing of a city be­set by a cul­ture of vi­ol­ence.

“If we want true heal­ing and true peace, we have to pray for the oth­er side as well,” Speziale said dur­ing the homily of a Ro­man Cath­ol­ic Mass. “That’s what makes be­ing a Chris­ti­an so dif­fi­cult and so unique.”

Dav­ies, 41, is a Mor­rell Park res­id­ent and a mem­ber of Christ the King. His wife, Marissa, and oth­er re­l­at­ives sat in a front pew dur­ing the heal­ing Mass, which was co-or­gan­ized by the church and the Fraternal Or­der of Po­lice Lodge 5 Aux­il­i­ary.

Dav­ies re­mains in stable con­di­tion at Temple Uni­versity Hos­pit­al re­cov­er­ing from a gun­shot wound to the ab­do­men that he suffered in Felton­ville on Aug. 13 while ar­rest­ing an al­leged heroin deal­er with a his­tory of vi­ol­ence against po­lice. Ac­cord­ing to Lodge 5 Pres­id­ent John McNesby, Dav­ies had be­gun to emerge from sed­a­tion on Monday morn­ing and was pre­par­ing for a fourth sur­gery. In a pre­vi­ous sur­gery, doc­tors re­moved one kid­ney.

“With every ad­di­tion­al day, they say he’s im­prov­ing,” McNesby told the North­east Times. “[But] I’m sure he has a lot of med­ic­al pro­ced­ures com­ing.”

Dav­ies’ con­di­tion re­mained of ut­most con­cern among po­lice and the of­ficer’s com­munity throughout last week. More than 1,500 of­ficers and po­lice com­mand­ers took part in a two-day blood drive at Temple Hos­pit­al on Thursday and Fri­day, while count­less more re­tired of­ficers and cit­izens also donated blood, McNesby said.

“If the shoe was on the oth­er foot and one of us was hurt, I think Of­ficer Dav­ies would do the same thing in a heart­beat,” said Of­ficer Thomas Brown after giv­ing blood last Fri­day.

“The dona­tions won’t all be­ne­fit [Dav­ies] dir­ectly, but they will help oth­er people in his name,” McNesby said.

The FOP will host an­oth­er blood drive on Aug. 28 and 29 at the Lodge 5 uni­on hall at 11630 Car­oline Road.

Last Fri­day, Dav­ies’ fam­ily is­sued a pub­lic state­ment of grat­it­ude. The of­ficer is the fath­er of a 2-year-old and three older chil­dren.

“We would like to ex­press our thank­ful­ness to all of those who are send­ing good wishes, pray­ers and sup­port to Ed and to our fam­ily at this very try­ing time,” the state­ment read. “Ed is a won­der­ful fath­er and hus­band and a ded­ic­ated po­lice of­ficer who loves his job. … We would like to thank the mem­bers of the lar­ger com­munity, the mem­bers of the Phil­adelphia Po­lice De­part­ment and the Fraternal Or­der of Po­lice. We are es­pe­cially thank­ful and can­not ex­press enough the sup­port we have re­ceived from Ed’s fel­low of­ficers in the 25th Po­lice Dis­trict; they are truly an ex­ten­sion of our fam­ily.”

Hun­dreds at­ten­ded the Sat­urday Mass, which was ded­ic­ated in hon­or of Dav­ies on two days’ no­tice. Po­lice shoot­ings have af­fected the Mor­rell Park com­munity be­fore. Sgt. Patrick Mc­Don­ald, who was slain fol­low­ing a traffic stop in North Phil­adelphia in 2008, was a lifelong res­id­ent of the neigh­bor­hood. Four oth­er of­ficers have been killed in the line of duty and nu­mer­ous oth­ers wounded by gun­fire since then.

“Each and every time something like this hap­pens, it af­fects our com­munity,” said state Rep. Brendan Boyle be­fore the Mass. “I think all po­lice of­ficers and every­one in North­east Phil­adelphia feels it.”

“My heart goes out to them,” said Lou Goudge, a neigh­bor­hood wo­man and church mem­ber. “A po­lice of­ficer lives next door to me. I keep an eye on him.”

“We’re all broth­ers and sis­ters around here. We all look after one an­oth­er,” ad­ded Goudge’s friend, Madeline Ciecka.

Jeremi­ah Da­ley, a former Phil­adelphia po­lice in­spect­or who now works in fed­er­al law en­force­ment, said that any news of a po­lice-in­volved shoot­ing sends shock­waves through the en­tire po­lice de­part­ment.

“Your heart stops and you feel this lump in your throat. You don’t know if it was some­body who you were close to over the years,” Da­ley said. “Then you start to real­ize [the of­ficer’s fam­ily] is go­ing to need some help and sup­port.”

That in­cludes spir­itu­al sup­port.

“It’s been said that pray­er is the best medi­cine, which is true,” said Speziale, who is also a teach­er at Arch­bish­op Ry­an High School. “And our pres­ence, our be­ing here, is the best present we can give to Ed and his fam­ily.”

Mean­while, the man ac­cused in Dav­ies’ near-fatal shoot­ing re­mains in jail await­ing a Sept. 4 pre­lim­in­ary hear­ing on charges of at­temp­ted murder, ag­grav­ated as­sault, drug and weapons vi­ol­a­tions and nu­mer­ous oth­er of­fenses. He is held without bail.

A po­lice source ini­tially iden­ti­fied him as Eric Samuel Torres-Solivan, and au­thor­it­ies have charged him as “Eric Torres.” Torres, 31, al­legedly fled a traffic stop at Fifth Street and Al­legheny Av­en­ue shortly after noon on Aug. 13, crashed his car near Bris­tol Street and Rising Sun Av­en­ue, then ran in­to a corner store at Fourth and West Anns­bury streets, po­lice said.

Of­ficers from the 25th dis­trict, in­clud­ing Dav­ies, chased Torres in­to the store and a vi­ol­ent struggle en­sued. Torres al­legedly pulled out a .45-caliber Glock and shot Dav­ies once in the ab­do­men, be­low the pro­tec­tion of the of­ficer’s bal­list­ic vest. Oth­er po­lice ar­res­ted Torres at the scene and took the wounded Dav­ies to the Temple emer­gency room.

In a sub­sequent search of the de­fend­ant’s res­id­ence at 401 W. Ray­mond St., po­lice al­legedly found a large amount of heroin pack­aged in small quant­it­ies for in­di­vidu­al sale, as well as an­oth­er hand­gun. Po­lice al­legedly found more pack­aged heroin in­side the car that Torres crashed.

Ac­cord­ing to pub­lished re­ports, the gun that Torres al­legedly used to shoot Dav­ies was re­por­ted stolen in June 2012 from the North­east home of a re­tired Phil­adelphia po­lice of­ficer. Also, Torres is a sus­pect in the shoot­ing death of an­oth­er man on the 2800 block of N. Lawrence St. on June 18.

Torres, a nat­ive of Pu­erto Rico, has a dozen pri­or ar­rests, in­clud­ing five for as­sault­ing po­lice, the most re­cent com­ing in Novem­ber 2011, po­lice said. ••

Photo ed­it­or Maria Pouch­nikova con­trib­uted to this story.

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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