It happened the day after his 62nd birthday: Bobby Parker shot himself across the street from his Miami home.
Two years after his death, Parker’s police family still has no answers. His wife of nearly 40 years along with his three children, are living with the mystery every day.
The Parkers looked through pictures, remembering the rock of their family.
“I could not have imagined a better father for my kids,” Veronica Parker said about her late husband. “He said, ‘All you have to do is get up and breathe. I’ll take care of the rest.'”
Bobby Parker was also the patriarch of an extended family — the Miami-Dade Police Department — for 33 years.
In 2004, he became the first black police director.
In July 2015, six years after he retired, Bobby Parker took his own life.
“I’ve torn this house apart. I tore the Georgia house apart. I tore the North Carolina house apart — (and found) nothing,” Veronica Parker said. “I looked through his phone. His iPad. His personal papers — nothing.”
Veronica Parker recalls her husband being happy the day he died.
“The storm came and then the lights went out,” she said. “I was standing in the front yard and my sons, they went to the back, and I heard them scream. They said ‘Daddy, no.’ I knew it wasn’t good. And that’s when I saw him.”
When Veronica Parker saw her husband’s body she closed his eyes and laid on top of him.
“I think it was rescue that took me off,” she said.
Parker’s two sons took Local 10 News’ Calvin Hughes to the canal across from their home, where they found their father’s body.
“I just broke down in tears. Never thought I would find my father here laying down,” Robert Parker Jr. said. “It’s been very tough. Think about him every day.”
Kyron Parker said he thanks God daily for the time he had with his father.
“It was just so unexpected,” Kalika Parker said about her father. “For someone to be so happy at that time. You just never know. And the reason we believe it was mental illness is he just didn’t display the signs.”
Veronica Parker said her husband’s passing wasn’t just a loss for her and her family, but for the community.
“His race was done and we finished his race. And it was time for him to go. His work was done here,” Veronica Parker said.
Friday would have been Bobby Parker’s 64th birthday. In remembrance of the former police director, Veronica Parker is having a celebration at 790 South Biscayne River Drive in Miami.
She is accepting donations for the foundation named in his honor two years ago, hoping to raise $1 million. Donations can be made through the family’s GoFundMe account.