The 1700 block of West Montgomery Avenue was officially renamed as “Christopher Fitzgerald Way,” in honor of the late Sgt. Christopher Fitzgerald during a ceremony Thursday afternoon.
Gov. Josh Shapiro, Acting President JoAnne Epps, Mayor Jim Kenney and members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives spoke to a couple hundred attendees at the ceremony, emphasizing the impact Fitzgerald left on the Temple community. Vendors handed out free water bottles, pretzels and water ice to the crowd as they filled the seats and street to watch the ceremony.
“Sgt. Fitzgerald lived a life of real public service,” Shapiro said. “Ever serving, ever helping and ever encouraging to all who met him. Chris was the very best of us. He cared about his fellow officers, he cared about his fellow neighbors and members of the Temple community. Most of all, he loved this great city.”
Philadelphia City Council voted on March 30 to rename the street after Fitzgerald, who was fatally shot on Feb. 18 near Temple’s Main Campus while attempting to apprehend a suspect in a convenience store robbery. He was the first TUPD officer to be killed in the line of duty.
Shapiro commended Fitzgerald for his commitment to his service in Temple and North Philadelphia. He hopes renaming the street Fitzgerald was killed on, the community can reclaim their perception of the street, he said.
“When people walk down this block, they will see his name,” Shapiro said. “They will see the name of a hero and someone who was the best of us. They will be reminded of the work he did every single day. Please note that this isn’t Christopher Fitzgerald Street or Christopher Fitzgerald Road, this is Christopher Fitzgerald Way and appropriately so because, in his life, Chris showed us the way.”
Epps thanked TUPD and the community for showing up for the event, making it clear that Fitzgerald was respected and admired by his peers, she said.
“Although I did not know Sgt. Fitzgerald personally, I do know the profound mark that he left on his community,” Epps said. “I think it’s fair to say that everyone gathered here understands how his commitment to selflessly serving others made a positive impact both here at Temple and throughout North Philadelphia.”
Kenney highlighted Fitzgerald’s commitment to Philadelphia by serving as a youth mentor and advocating against gun violence.
“We can honor his memory and show our gratitude to all the public safety officers across the city who put themselves in harm’s way to keep Philadelphia residents safe,” Kenney said.
The event concluded with the unveiling of the new street sign, drawing emphatic applause from spectators and the Temple Police officers that were in attendance for the ceremony.