During the funeral service for fallen police officer Robert Wilson III, his 10-year-old son, Quahmier, ran out screaming that he wants his dad back.
His dad, officer Wilson, was shot last week at a GameStop. He went there to buy his son a video game for his good grades.
Two armed robbers entered the store. While officer Wilson was in line he saw the robbers burst in and moved away from the counter to try and distract the robbers' attention from other people. He then returned their gunfire. He was shot several times, yet didn't stop fighting until he was fatally wounded towards the end.
Quahmier, his son, ran out of the service and I saw him while I was drying my camera from the rainy weather that day, at the entrance of the Palestra in University City, where the funeral was held. We were not allowed to photograph inside the service but the officers let us photograph in the lobby and stay dry. I didn't take his photo then, because he seemed so vulnerable and little and I knew that the family wished for privacy from the media.
A few minutes later, a sketch artist who drew a large portrait of officer Wilson and left it at the lobby for everyone to sign, saw Quahmier. He hugged him and sat down to speak with him in front of his father's sketch. The artist's name is Mark Gaines. I spoke with Mark earlier and his words, "I know what that kid is going through. My dad died when I was 10," rang clearly in my head.
I went over to them and asked where Quahmier's mother was. An officer near me pointed in her direction. I got closer as I saw what was happening.
Mark was sitting on the floor with Quahmier and spoke to him about his father's courage. He asked him to sign his dad's sketch. He gently kept repeating that it'll be alright and that he needs to let out what he feels. Little Quahmier took a golden sharpie from Mark and began to write "I love you daddy" on the sketch.
Everyone around the scene felt the power of this moment. I had to capture it. I looked towards his mom and held my camera up to silently asking for permission. She wore big black sunglasses and nodded. I got down on my knees and started.
Here are the photos of that moment and a few other shots from the funeral.