- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Prosecutors hope to prove that both suspects fired deadly shots that killed a Philadelphia police officer during a robbery inside a video game store.

Officials plan to play security video of the shootout between Officer Robert Wilson III and the suspects at a preliminary hearing, delayed Wednesday and now set for May 20. Dozens of bullets were fired.

“It’s like a video game inside a video shop … where you’re the shooter, and you can see the angle of the bullet,” defense lawyer Michael Coard said.

“It’s really graphic, but at the same time it’s heroic,” said Coard, a civil rights attorney frequently at odds with police. “He (Wilson) was pretty much exposed, out in the open, while being shot at … but he’s trying to protect himself, and protect the customers.”

Coard does not concede that his client was involved. He represents 29-year-old Carlton Hipps, who was out of prison after serving time for a previous armed robbery. Hipps and his younger half-brother Ramone Williams are charged with killing Wilson during the botched March 5 holdup at a Game Stop in North Philadelphia.

Prosecutors, who often seek the death penalty in police slayings, have not yet decided whether to pursue capital punishment if they get a conviction. But they say the brothers share responsibility for Wilson’s death.

“It was a hail of gunfire from both of these guys,” Assistant District Attorney Brian Zarallo said. “The video is going to show the level of culpability of both … that it’s unquestionable.”

Wilson, 30, had planned to make a quick security check in the high-crime neighborhood and buy a game for his son’s 10th birthday. His partner was waiting in their patrol car. The partner heard the shots and ran to the door as the gunmen were leaving, prompting a second shootout in which he shot Hipps in the leg. Williams was not injured.

The family has retained lawyer Andres Jalon to represent the 25-year-old Williams, a high school team captain who spent two years in college on a basketball scholarship.

“If you look at the individual he was prior to this, it’s kind of an aberration,” Jalon said Wednesday.

Coard was appointed by the court to represent Hipps, who was sent to prison for five to 10 years after his conviction for a holdup when he was 18.


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