Sierra Bradway lost her father four years ago in the line of duty and so had planned to take her prom photos at the gravesite of her father, who was an Indianapolis police officer.
But she had no idea what she was in for.
Wearing a long blue gown paired with sparkling sneakers, the teen and her date, Brock Spayd, arrived at Crown Hill Cemetery, where dozens of the fallen officer’s colleagues had secretly gathered to surprise the girl and send her off on a special evening.
“There were lots of laughs, some tears, but most importantly, there was love,” the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said on its Facebook page.
“Not expecting anyone but a photographer, she steps out to find her thin blue line family,” the department said.
Video shows her walking among the crowd of officers and hugging several of them. She and Brock posed for photos, surrounded by law enforcement officers from several agencies.
The department posted video and photos of the emotional scene on Facebook and Twitter, where they quickly received hundreds of comments.
“Your dad is a hero & has left a legacy for all to look up to. Keep shining!” read one Twitter reaction.
Officer Bradway was killed after busting down the door of an apartment where a woman was screaming and crying for help.
— IMPD (@IMPDnews) May 6, 2017
An armed man was behind the door and opened fire as Bradway entered the home, according to local media reports from the time.
The shooter was killed in a gun battle with other officers.
The idea for Sierra’s prom send-off came from her date’s mother, who is a captain with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. She reached out to Indianapolis police, and a plan was formed.
Police Chief Bryan Roach was on the scene to play the part of Sierra’s dad. “Have Sierra home before 9P, sir!” Roach posted on Twitter.