Russia’s ambassador to Turkey was assassinated Monday by a lone Turkish gunman shouting “God is great!” and “don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria,” while a pair of brave photojournalists captured the entire incident.
Hakim Kilic is a Turkish photographer for the daily Hurriyet who witnessed the attack and sold his images to Reuters, according to the New York Times.
He told the Times that the crazed gunman fired seven shots, including “four from behind, three while the body was on the ground.”
Kilic said he hid behind a cocktail table about 12 feet away from the killer, whom the photographer says yelled, “Call the police, and I will die here.”
The photos are both terrifying and incredible, capturing a moment that most people only experience in nightmares.
Burhan Ozbilici, a photographer for the Associated Press who also captured the assassination, snapped some amazing-yet-horrifying shots as well.
Ozbilici described what he was thinking during the attack to The Guardian. “I’m here. Even if I get hit and injured, or killed, I’m a journalist. I have to do my work,” he said. “I could run away without making any photos … But I wouldn’t have a proper answer if people later ask me: ‘Why didn’t you take pictures?'”
He continued: “I was, of course, fearful and knew of the danger if the gunman turned toward me. But I advanced a little and photographed the man as he hectored his desperate, captive audience.”
After the ordeal, Ozbilici found himself amazed one more time.
“When I returned to the office to edit my photos, I was shocked to see that the shooter was actually standing behind the ambassador as he spoke. Like a friend, or a bodyguard,” he told The Guardian.
Both photographers have been praised on Twitter for both bravery and reminding us of the importance of journalism.
— Barry Malone (@malonebarry) December 19, 2016
— Sarah (@SarahEmilyMucha) December 20, 2016
Why journalism requires passion & fearless commitment
— Reham Khan (@RehamKhan1) December 20, 2016
AP photographer Burhan Ozbilici continued his work in the face of this. pic.twitter.com/mGdH37ZMei
— Micah Grimes (@MicahGrimes) December 19, 2016
Yeah also like that photographer is incredibly brave and his photos should be seen https://t.co/3Kf5tUpQ7e
— Ben Dreyfuss (@bendreyfuss) December 20, 2016
⚡️ “Photographer talks about capturing ambassador's assassination”https://t.co/qw8t6HefGJ Amazing this man is so brave.
— Thatnerdgirl (@caitlin_goforth) December 20, 2016
I think it's incredibly brave what this Turkish photographer did. His photos will have significant historical value, forever.
— Tyler ???????? (@Tylarious) December 20, 2016
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) December 19, 2016
— Frank Bajak (@fbajak) December 19, 2016
— The New Daily (@TheNewDailyAu) December 20, 2016