A screen grab from the Dallas Morning News website’s coverage of photos captured by the newspaper’s staff photographer, Tom Fox.
It’s impossible to really know how you will respond when faced with a dangerous situation, like an armed and active shooter, particularly if you’re a photographer. Do you run for cover or stay and shoot?
Veteran photographer Tom Fox, who’s been a staff photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News for almost 30 years, chose to stay, at first hiding in an alcove. In doing so, he captured some truly amazing and terrifying images of, what his newspaper says was “a heavily armed masked man at the downtown federal courts building Monday morning.” That gunman, Brian Isaack Clyde, 22, who was eventually shot by police, died at the scene.
But as events were unfolding, Fox was unsure of exactly what to make of the chaotic scene. According to the Dallas Morning News, Fox says he “just kept thinking, ‘He’s going to look at me around that corner and he’s going to shoot,'” Fox said, who had been there to shoot another story.
At one point, Fox says he “pulled up my long lens and saw someone who I realized was the shooter. And I think, ‘Oh my God.’ I squeezed off a few frames as he picked something up — a clip, I think — and then I turned and ran.”
He noted in the video he was nervous that the gunman might run past him and see him, but luckily, the gunman ran in a different direction. And when Fox said he eventually saw a police officer run past “his field of vision,” he was relieved and realized he would probably be OK.
But as a true experienced photojournalist, he says in the video, that right now he will “process this later. For right now, I’m just trying to get the story out. Just get it up online, tell people what happened, especially from a first-hand point of view.”
You can see Fox’s images on the Dallas Morning News website.
You can also see the events play out and how close Fox was to the shooter in this video, captured by a bystander, who was shooting the video on a phone in an adjacent building:
For me, personally, this story, as do many stories that deal with guns, hits particularly close to home for me, since I was a witness to a similar shooting on a Long Island Train shooting in the early 1990s, and created works of art based on those experiences, which I wrote about for the New York Times last year . I was also interviewed by a local Long Island news crew on a fine-art exhibition I had a Molloy College last year. For me, listening to Tom Fox’s observations on the chaos and fear reminded me very much of my own experiences.
But as a photographer, Fox did a truly did a remarkable job capturing the images he photographed yesterday. According to his bio, Fox has won a Pulitzer in 2006 for Breaking News Photography for coverage of Hurricane Katrina and has won Texas Associated Press Managing Editors as the Photojournalist of the Year and Star Photographer of the Year by the Texas Headliner’s Foundation, among other awards. For these images, he may be up for a number of other awards.