The wife of one of the three Baton Rouge police officers slain in July's horrific ambush attack has something to celebrate in the months after the tragedy.
Dechia Gerald's husband Matthew Gerald — who served three tours in Iraq before returning to serve his Louisiana community — was shot dead at 41 in the wake of protests over several police shootings of black men this summer.
Five days before her husband became a hero once again, and for the final time, Mrs. Gerald believes she conceived.
The couple, who already had two daughters, were treated to a rare night together in the midst of a string of 12-hour shifts Gerald worked during the summer's protests.
When she realized their final night together brought them a third child, Gerald tells WAFB she knew it was meant to be.
"It’s divine intervention, it’s all God’s plan," Gerald said. "It’s in his plan, I don’t know why and I can’t question why. I just have to move forward and in the days and years to come, I know it’s going to be difficult because the baby has no idea who his father is but it’s going to be my job that he does or she does know who its father is."
At 10 weeks, Gerald said she hopes it takes after its dad. But Gerald said she's just happy she'll have yet another reminder of all that Matthew meant to her.
"There's no better gift that a husband could leave behind than a baby, a gift from God. There's no better gift than that," she said.
Her baby is due April 7.
Of the six officers shot, Matthew Gerald was one of three that were killed when Gavin Long, 29, opened fire in the wake of the killing of Alton Sterling.
Also killed in the rampage were husband and father of one Montrell Jackson as well as husband and beloved father of five Brad Garafola.