PHILADELPHIA POLICE Officer James Berghaier was in the alley behind the MOVE house when the fire began. He braved gunfire and sloshed through waist-deep water to pull 13-year-old Birdie Africa to safety.
1985: Berghaier, then 35, realized that going out into the alley to rescue the boy could have been a trap designed to put him in the line of fire. But he did it, he said, knowing that if he died, he'd die trying to do a good thing.
Berghaier's partner, Charles Mellor, stood in the middle of the alley and kept watch.
"The whole time I'm locked in on Mellor's face," Berghaier said recently, "and, I've got to be honest with you, I'm praying I'm not going to see a change of expression . . . I'm locked on [Mellor]. I don't want to feel a thump on my back."