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This photo earned Tyler Hicks a Pulitzer for breaking news photography

AP Photo/Tyler Hicks, The New York Times

Today, The New York Times staff photographer Tyler Hicks won a Pulitzer for breaking news photography for his work capturing the terrorist attack at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya. And trust me, that coveted prize is well deserved. Here's what happened:

On Sept. 21, 2013, at least 16 armed assailants from the Somali Islamist militant group al Shabab attacked the Westgate. The terrorists lobbed grenades and fired automatic weapons into a crowd of weekend shoppers, holding many hostage. After a four-day assault, at least 67 people were killed and more than 170 were injured.

Hicks was at a frame shop in an adjacent mall when the attack started. He ran over and within minutes witnessed blood-covered and frightened people running out of the mall.

"From the beginning I wanted to get some security forces inside the mall," Hicks said in an interview. He hooked up with a group of police doing security sweeps, and stayed inside the mall for two hours taking photographs of the tense stand-off. He never caught sight of any of the assailants but he did see about a dozen people who had been killed.

Hicks was awarded the Pulitzer "for his compelling pictures that showed skill and bravery in documenting the unfolding terrorist attack." Here is just one of those stunning and heartbreaking shots. For more photos from Hicks' Nairobi series, go to The New York Times. Click here for a full list of Pulitzer winners. --Lauren Hansen