Of all the friends, family and co-workers of fallen police officers that visited Jonny Castro during his stay at the 2018 FOP Tent City, one carried a unique and special story.
Philadelphia Police Officer, forensic sketch artist and BBO partner/member Jonny Castro has been using his gift to honor fallen police officers since the 1 year anniversary of the assassination of Philadelphia Police Officer Robert Wilson.
One of the portraits that Jonny had done was in honor of Metropolitan Police Master Patrol Officer Brian T. Gibson, who was killed in the line of duty on February 5th, 1997.
While on patrol in his vehicle and stopped at an intersection, Officer Gibson was ambushed, shot and killed by a subject who had just recently been ejected from a nightclub by another police officer.
While meeting families who had traveled to Washington DC to take part in “Police Week”, Jonny met up with Brian’s sister, Terrica. While there, Terrica was presented with a framed portrait of her brother that Jonny had done for the family.
Terrica and Jonny exchanged stories. Among them, was just how strong her mother, Shirley, has been since her son’s death.
Shirley, affectionately referred to as “Mom’ by all of the Metropolitan Police Department, had once served as the national president of the C.O.P.S. organization (Concerns of Police Survivors), the first surviving parent ever elected to that position. She also had helped create the DC Police Family Support Team, which helps assist families of critically injured and fallen police officers. For years until just recently, Shirley would serve Christmas dinner, in her own living room, to MPD Police Officers, until handing the reigns off to union officials because it simply became too big for her to handle alone. At these dinners, Shirley would serve her adopted family all of her son’s favorite dishes, to help further keep his memory alive and well. Through the years, Shirley and her family have traveled the country, speaking with law enforcement officers, line of duty death families and law enforcement families in crisis, often reliving their heartache over and over, simply to bring others peace.
After returning home with the portrait and prints Jonny gave her, Terrica showed them to her father, who has been struggling with a memory related illness for some time now. Upon seeing the portrait that Jonny had done, he immediately recognized his son.
Brothers Before Others is both honored and blessed to have Jonny as a member and partner. The selfless gifts he is giving families of the fallen have impacts far beyond what anyone could imagine.
For more information on C.O.P.S:
For more on Jonny Castro and his work, you can find him on both FB and Instagram by searching “Jonny Castro Art”.
For a little insight on just who “Mom” is and what she means to MPD, we’ve included just a few of the many videos about her. May God bless her and her family.