Birmingham, AL – An anonymous Good Samarian wordlessly shielded a saluting Jefferson County sheriff’s deputy from the rain during a funeral procession on Saturday.
A photograph captured the inspiring moment – one which Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy Tiffany Dial said she did not even realize was occurring, WBMA reported.
Deputy Dial was standing on the sidewalk in front of a fallen law enforcement officer memorial, saluting the procession for murdered Birmingham Police Sergeant Wytasha Carter in the pouring rain, when a civilian came up behind her and held an umbrella over her head.
He remained there for over 30 minutes, then left without saying a word.
“I didn’t know he was there,” Deputy Dial told WBMA. “My peripheral vision was cut off with my hat, so I didn’t know anything was there.”
“I was in my moment, paying my respects to Sgt. Carter,” she said.
Passersby snapped photographs of the selfless act of kindness and respect, and Deputy Dial said she wished she would have known the man was there so she could thank him.
“It just restores your faith a little bit,” she told WBMA. “It meant a lot, in ways you can’t even put into words. It wasn’t just about keeping the rain off of me for that little bit – it meant a lot more than that.”
Deputy Dial was one of thousands who attended the funeral and procession ceremonies for Sgt. Carter, who was murdered in the line of duty on Jan. 13.
The 44-year-old sergeant was attacked after he responded to a call for assistance from an undercover officer investigating a rash of vehicle break-ins, The Birmingham News reported.
“The officers approached one suspect and patted him down where they found what they believed to be a weapon,'' Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith said. “They asked him about it, he armed himself and fired upon our officers.”
The attack unfolded rapidly, Chief Smith said.
"What I can tell you is it appears our officers were unable to respond,'' he explained. “They were taken completely by surprise. We can’t go into great detail because we are still in the infancy stage of the investigation.”
Sgt. Carter and the unnamed officer were rushed to the UAB Hospital’s Trauma Center, where the sergeant later passed away.
The U.S. Air Force veteran brought nine years of law enforcement experience with him when he was hired in Birmingham, and served his department for another eight years.
He leaves behind his wife and children.
The second officer remained hospitalized for nine days, and was continuing his recovery at home, The Birmingham News reported.