The above photograph, taken immediately after the first explosion in yesterday’s horrifying Boston Marathon bombings, has emerged as one of the iconic images of the day. And like all iconic images, it contains a number of compelling stories.
The Dallas Voice has uncovered one such story, about the police officer on the far right. His name is Javier Pagan, and he’s the Boston Police Department’s liaison to the LGBT community. Boston Pride, which lists Pagan as a “good friend,” says that he happened to be standing right behind the flags where the first bomb went off.
According to photographer John Tlumacki, this picture was taken “probably one second after the explosion.” He writes:
[The runner] was blown over by the blast and fell on the ground. The cops are just reacting as cops. They didn’t know what was going on. They’re pulling their guns out, looking left and right. They were pretty close to where the explosion went off and could have been killed or injured also.
Pandemonium reigned in that split second, but Tlumacki reports that the police almost immediately switched into crisis mode, clearing the area and trying to maintain some semblance of order amidst the chaos. (His account is incredibly compelling and worth reading in its entirety.)
In addition to being one of the heroes of the Boston Marathon bombings, Pagan is a hero to the LGBT community: his position makes him the most highly visible LGBT member of the Boston Police force, he’s a member of the Gay Officer’s Action League, and he had the honor of escorting LGBT civil rights attorney Mary Bonauto to a celebration at City Hall Plaza on the day same-sex marriages became legal in Massachusetts.
And Pagan isn’t the only hero in his family — Pedro, his husband of four years (pictured at left with Pagan), is a retired sergeant from the New York Police Department who served on 9/11 and helped rescue people from the rubble after the Twin Towers collapsed.
Javier and Pedro are amazing examples of bravery and heroism — not just for the LGBT community, but for all people.
Cross-posted at Back2Stonewall.