On Thursday July 7th my wife and I attended Dallas’ Thursday Therapy. I was there because I was the photographer for the event. Once the event was done I checked Facebook. I noticed a friend was broadcasting live from the rally I knew nothing about. I told my wife we should go and support. As a photographer I knew I would be able to tell the story in my own creative way.
The first thirty minutes or so was nothing but positive vibes. Once the rally was over is when chaos started. My wife and I had already been separated but I wasn’t too scared because I didn’t realize they were shooting at first. The loud sound could have been fireworks since the fourth of July just passed. It wasn’t until I saw police cars and motorcycles screeched by that I knew we were under attack and people were yelling that there are shooters. Not knowing which direction the shots were aimed or where the shooter was made it more terrifying. I was broadcasting live to Facebook at the same time when my wife called. When I realized where she was panic really set in. She was where the shooter was aiming. My first thought was, if I run to save her I may get a bullet in my head. I made the decision to run and get her. It was at that moment I knew what it meant to be a husband after ten years of marriage.
We ran left and the crowd was coming back. We ran right, and another group of people rushed our way. I made the decision to rush into the Greyhound bus station. As we rushed I saw an employee punching in a key code into a secure room. I rushed the door to make sure we could also be safe. Emotions were high as fear settled. Within an hour one of the employees came into the room from the back door and we all were startled for a moment. I then received a Facebook message that the shooter was headed to our building. Not being able see what was taking place only made things worse. Over time things settled down and we were able to go back outside.
We weren’t able to leave the bus station until around three in the morning. Then my wife and I were asked if we could tell our story to one of the news media that were on the scene near the Omni hotel. We were able to tell our story to a few networks and then the hate rushed in. With zero sleep we had to be poised and relaxed on camera while facing the world. I received Twitter messages calling us all sorta hateful names. I also received a strange phone call and an anonymous email that someone is on YouTube defaming my name and my business claiming we were paid actors. I’m guessing the person wasn’t watching my live broadcast. It was frustrating because it appears that people aren’t used to seeing young, black professionals being able to articulate in front of the media. There’s a reason we are leaders in Toastmasters. Sorry for not saying anything that would turn us into memes or create silly songs twisting our words.
I’m grateful to have made it out alive and the amount of love and support we received from friends, family and even strangers have been overwhelming. You never know the amount of love others have for you until time of crisis. Thank you all for the sincere outpouring of love towards us. We are grateful and thankful for you.