BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – As fallen Birmingham, Alabama, police Sgt. Wytasha Carter’s procession passed through the city, a special moment was captured by onlookers as a man shielded an officer from the rain.
In the photo from Saturday, Jefferson County Deputy Sheriff Tiffany Dial stands in the rain saluting as a man stands behind her holding an umbrella over her.
Meghan Blankenship witnessed the interaction and said the man stood there for well over 30 minutes.
“It brought tears to my eyes,” Blackenship said, [for him] “to show that much respect and love for another individual.”
Dial said the man didn’t say a word to her, and when she turned around he was gone.
“I didn’t know he was there. My peripheral vision was cut off with my hat, so I didn’t know anything was there. I was in my moment,” Dial told CNN affiliate WBMA.
The photo caught the attention of many people online and led to WBMA posting a call on Facebook looking for the mystery man.
He is Shawn Allen, deputy district attorney of the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office. He was at work on Saturday and watched online for updates on the procession’s location.
“When it was going by my building at work, I wanted to go outside and pay my respect,” Allen said.
Outside, he spotted Dial and just did a “nice thing.”
“It was raining and I had an umbrella and she didn’t,” Allen said. “It was just a nice thing to do.”
But for Dial, it meant more. “It meant a lot, in ways you can’t even put into words,” Dial told WBMA. “It wasn’t just about keeping the rain off of me for that little bit, it meant a lot more than that.”
Carter, 44, of Birmingham, was shot and killed January 13 while investigating a call about vehicle burglaries. Carter had been with the Birmingham Police Department since 2011 and had been promoted to sergeant in February 2018, police said. He is survived by his wife and two children.