On September 7, 2012, at the end of a long day I was called by our assistant city editor with an urgent assignment. The Coast Guard had intercepted a sailboat off the coast with two young children aboard who had been abducted by their father. The father had allegedly stolen a sailboat in the San Francisco Bay Area and sailed it south with the children. The Coast Guard was returning in its cutter to reunite the children with their mother and take the father off to jail.
I have no idea how the father thought he'd get away with it. The Coast Guard had been following him in airplanes, helicopters and boats.
It was a sad story, but in some ways it turned out well that no one was injured and the children were returned to their mother. Regardless I was there to cover it as it was my job.
As I waited near the base of the jetty for the boat to come, more and more news trucks from the Bay Area appeared. Unmarked police-style cars and a South San Francisco Police car entered a guarded gate that led to where the boat was being moored. In the far distance we could see some movement on the boat but it was too far away and too dark to get an idea of what was happening.
I checked my exposures with another journalist who walked through the area where we thought they would drive and then waited. First the South San Francisco police car exited through the gate. Instead of driving the usual route it barreled down a walkway nearly hitting one writer from a local paper and I was only able to pop off a couple of shots as the vehicle took the father off. We later figured out that this car contained the father.
The next car came out a few minutes later containing the mother and the children. Again the vehicle took an alternate route and this time Coast Guardsmen were running alongside, covering the car with a blanket. Ideally it would have been nicer to get a photo of the reunification of the children with their mother, but this was a tough assignment with limited access and in the end I felt lucky to capture a few frames to document the story.