By DANA DiFILIPPO
The radio call is as fresh in Garry Bell's mind today as it was when it crackled over the airwaves 20 years ago.
Police officer shot. 13th and Locust.
Bell knew without being told the target was his partner, Danny Faulkner, who had called for a police wagon to cart a wrong-way driver.
"I ran down 13th Street, my ear glued to the radio, and went right to Jefferson [University Hospital]," said Bell, who had been on foot patrol a few blocks away. "When I got there, the doctors were working on him, but he was already dead. I can still see the picture of him in my mind today, with all the blood on his face. That's indelible."
While two decades have passed since the Dec. 9, 1981, murder, Bell's heartache hasn't faded.
Yesterday, he returned to the scene where Faulkner was shot to dedicate a memorial marking the 20th anniversary of the officer's death.
More than 200 of Faulkner's friends, relatives and supporters gathered to remember the 25-year-old officer and drop white carnations on the plaque set into the sidewalk where he fell. The crowd included Police Commissioner John Timoney, District Attorney Lynne Abraham and other city officials.
"It was 20 years ago today that I and my family and Danny's friends, our lives were forever changed, and we all have a bond that will never be broken. We all have the heartache. We know what it's like to lose a loved one to murder," said his widow, Maureen Faulkner, 45, her voice breaking with emotion.
"We will continue to stand behind his name and speak out about the truth on the night he was murdered."
Mumia Abu-Jamal, a radio journalist, former Black Panther, taxi driver and MOVE devotee, was convicted in Faulkner's slaying and remains on death row pending appeals claiming an unfair trial and racial injustice.
His supporters staged a rally in Center City Saturday. Seven were arrested after a confrontation with police.
At yesterday's Faulkner remembrance, the only mention of Mumia was a small white sign propped up near the plaque reading: "Do Mumia's Morons Rule our Justice System?"
Mourners preferred to keep the focus on Faulkner, announcing $5,000 college scholarships in his name for two children of murdered parents.
Charles Ritterson, 17, of Northeast Philadelphia, lost his mother, Trudy, and Dana Dutch, 20, of Port Richmond, lost her father, William, when four thugs burst into the Dollar Express at the Franklin Mills Mall where they worked and shot them during a Feb. 24, 2000, holdup.
Ritterson said his mother's murder changed his career plans. He shelved his plans to study business and instead hopes to become an attorney.
"I want to be a prosecutor. I want to keep animals off the street, like the man who killed Officer Faulkner and the men who killed my mother," said Ritterson, who is now a student at Wesley College in Dover, Del. *
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