Terre Haute, IN – On the first day back to school since his father was killed in the line of duty, Dakota Pitts asked his mother if he could have a police officer escort him to school.
The 5-year-old didn’t want to show up alone, according to WNDU-TV.
And he didn’t because 70 Terre Haute officers and some family members showed up May 14 to greet him as he entered the school.
The officers lined up near the entrance and applauded as the 5-year-old walked into school.
Dakota was wearing his father’s badge as he walked into school. Before he entered, the SWAT team gave him his own T-shirt.
“It’s a brotherhood; it’s not like any other job you’re going to have,” Terre Haute Police Department Detective Les Hamm said, according to WNDU. “Guys are close, you form bonds that you wouldn’t form in a different profession. When somebody’s in need, we go, especially for a fallen officer and his kid.”
“Having that many people here to support him, I know that he will remember that probably forever. So it was very important,” Principal Samantha Phegley told WDNU.
Officer Pitts was murdered May 4 as he was working with three other officers on a homicide investigation that occurred earlier in the day on South 18th Street, according to Tribune Star.
The officers were investigating a lead at The Garden Quarter apartments at around 6:30 p.m.
As the officers approached the apartments, the gunman opened fire on them from a second story window. Officers returned fire and Officer Pitts was shot.
Officer Pitts was rushed to Terre Haute Regional Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. Doctors later released that he had be killed by a single gunshot wound to the head, according to CBS4.
The suspect was also hit during the gunfight, but barricaded himself inside of the apartment.
At around 9:20 p.m., special response units made entry into the apartment, located the suspect, and called for a medic. The killer died from his gunshot wounds.
Officer Pitts was a 16-year veteran of the Terre Haute Police Department.
Wolfe’s girlfriend was arrested on an obstruction of justice charge and was jailed with a $25,000 bond.