PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A picture, taken to celebrate his mother’s birthday in October, would be the last family photo to include 28-year-old Deshawn Whitaker. Family members say he loved to laugh, loved to smile, and loved spending time with his seven-year-old son Deshawn Whitaker Jr.

On the left, Deshawn Whitaker with his mother (Photo courtesy: Angel Whitaker)

It all came to an end on the afternoon of December 1, in a strip mall parking lot on Newtown and Baker roads. Police say the car and weapons that Deshawn and his wife Jacqueline Ortiz-Whitaker were carrying were stolen.

An unidentified police officer opened fire, striking Whitaker, who police say was pointing a gun at the officer. He died later at a hospital with his family by his side. Mrs. Ortiz-Whitaker was treated for minor injuries and later booked in the Virginia Beach jail for numerous charges, including weapons charges.

In a briefing four days later, Virginia Beach Police Chief Paul Neudigate summarized the tragic events that started with a traffic stop triggered by an electronic stolen car alert.

“Incidents such as this touch so many. No officer wants to take a life,” Neudigate said.

In a statement to 10 On Your Side, Deshawn’s sister Angel Whitaker wrote in part:

“The Whitaker family is saddened by the death of Deshawn. However, the family wants this tragic event to be a learning lesson to the community. The crimes that were committed aren’t acceptable and resulted in my brother’s death.

The public saw someone who already was dealing with mental health issues however Deshawn was a very caring spirit and would bend over backward for anyone… I ask everyone who knew Deshawn remember him by the good times.”

Lastly, we want to thank Sergeant M. D. Laino and the Virginia Beach Police for being so compassionate towards our family regardless of the situation.”

Before the public saw the harrowing video, the police chief called in the family for a private but painful viewing.

“We offered our condolences to the Whitaker family, I had the opportunity, my staff to meet with the family around 1:30 pm [Monday] to express our condolences and our sympathies for the loss,” Neudigate said in a press briefing.

Funeral arrangements for Whitaker are pending. Whitaker’s wife Jackie Ortiz- Whitaker remains jailed for her alleged role in the crimes. She’s due in court on March 10, 2023.