A survivor of the July 7 shooting rampage by a black racist broke down in tears while describing how heroic police officers shielded her and her sons from deadly gunfire. Shetamia Taylor (37) recalled today how she heard two gunshots while the shooting began and then saw a Dallas police officer fall to the ground. In tears, Taylor described the fallen officer’s words: “He’s got a gun, run.'" Taylor and her sons are African Americans.
On the evening of July 7, Micah X. Johnson – a sympathizer of the Black Panthers and a former Army reservist – fired multiple sniper rounds at police, killing five and wounding 6 officers and one civilian. He was eventually killed by police via robot when he refused to surrender. The shots interrupted what had been until then a relatively peaceful protest led by the Black Lives Matter movement to demonstration outrage over the police shootings of two black men last week.
Taylor recalled, "I was running behind them and I felt the bullet in the back of my leg." Still weeping while she spoke, Taylor said, "My son went to grab me but I was already shot so I grabbed him and lay on top of him. Police asked was anybody hit, because he didn't know I was shot. I said yes, but not loud enough because I didn't want my son to hear. The officer got on top of me and covered me and my son. Another cop [was] at my feet and another [stood] by us and they protected us. I saw another officer get shot in front of me."
The majority of the police officers who shielded her were white, Taylor said. She said that their example made her "admiration for police greater." As for Johnson the assassin, Taylor asked, "Why would he do that?" Fighting back tears as she described the deadly gunfire, Taylor said, "I've never heard anything like that before."
"Hundreds of rounds. There were shots all around us. I'm thankful for the police because they had no regard for their life and protected us."
Taylor was at the protest to speak out against the police shootings of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota. During a press conference today, Taylor appeared to strike a balance between a perceived need to denounce unwarranted police action with her gratitude to the police for saving her life and the lives of her children. Speaking of the police, Taylor said, "I'm so thankful." he said she "never stopped praying" for the safety of her four children. "Thank you for being heroes," she said to police today.
Taylor also bore witness to the pathos of the fatal evening. She said that in the hospital when she heard that her children had survived, she overheard one officer tell a colleague that an officer had died. "I saw an officer tell another officer that an officer didn't make it, and I [was] celebrating my kids," she said. Hanging her head in grief, Taylor added, "[Celebrating] my kids being alive” Referring to the officer’s death, she said, "It hurt."
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