Footage has emerged of a young boy being escorted to school by some 70 Indiana police officers after his father was killed in the line of duty. Five-year-old Dakota Pitts headed back to school for the first time on Monday – but he wasn’t to go it alone. Stunning video footage shows officers lining the sidewalk in support of Dakota while he wore his father’s badge and was given a SWAT shirt as he made his way to Sullivan Elementary School.
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The young man’s father Rob Pitts, who was a 16-year veteran with the force, was tragically killed on May 4 aged 45.
“Dakota asked his mom if one of his dad’s friends could take him to school, so she kind of reached out to Rob’s friends and family,” said Les Ham, Terre Haute Police Department detective. He will definitely know that his dad was a hero. Blood doesn’t always make family, and I think the blue family just went above and beyond,’ said Kelli Jones, Officer Pitts’ sister, explained to WHTI-TV.
Pitt leaves behind another son and a daughter. The officer was killed when attempting to apprehend an armed murder suspect at an apartment complex. After a three-hour standoff, 21-year-0ld Christopher Wolfe opened fire from the second floor of the apartment, striking Pitts. Despite being immediately rushed to hospital, the officer died of his wounds. A SWAT team stormed the apartment and located the suspect, who was shot dead in a gunfight.
Dakota asked his mom if one of his dad’s friends could drive him to school for his first day back. Little did he know that would turn into 70 Terre Haute and Vigo County officers showing up in Sullivan. He was shocked ? pic.twitter.com/lbXquLdTJU
— Kiley Thomas (@KileyWTHI) May 14, 2018
A student’s return to school after the death of a loved one, especially a parent, is difficult,” Sullivan Elementary Principal Samantha Phegley told CNN. “Having the support of Rob’s police family helped Dakota take those first few steps.”
She added: “Our hope is that Dakota’s first day back to school after his father’s passing is one that he will remember forever and that he will always know how much his father’s sacrifice meant to all of us.”
“Rob is deeply missed, but we are grateful for the time we had with him. Thank you for your continued prayers,’ Terre Haute police spokesman Ryan Adamson said at a press conference Saturday. “It is another tragic loss for the Wabash Valley and the Terre Haute Police Department,’ added Sgt. Joe Watts of the Indiana State Police.
“People are engaging law enforcement and we are losing our lives. He was a fine officer and he was going toward danger to help his fellow officers apprehend a homicide suspect,” stated Chief John Plasse following the officer’s death.
The sorrow First Lady Janet Holcomb & I feel for the family of Patrolman Rob Pitts, the Terre Haute Police Department &…
Posted by Governor Eric Holcomb on Saturday, May 5, 2018