A video of Thursday’s Dallas shooting that has gone viral was shot not by an experienced journalist, but rather a relatively young intern.
Sidney Johnson, a 28-year-old intern at Central Track, a Dallas-based online publication, was initially assigned to gather quotes from Black Lives Matter protesters at the site of the would-be shooting.
Johnson, who had been an intern at the publication for a month, said his editor told him to expect for the worst, but needless to say, he was still ill-prepared for the tragedy that would take place.
Upon hearing gunfire, Johnson counterintuitively ran towards it, capturing important footage, before ducking for cover within a parking garage.
Johnson’s rationale? “As journalists, we are here to tell the story,” he said. "We can’t be scared about it. I felt safe enough to record.”
The video shows Johnson leaving the garage to a street crowded with police cars. He is alerted that the police are being targeted by a sniper; gunshots are clearly audible within the clip.
Seeing an officer lying on the ground after being shot, “is what really solidified it,” in Johnson’s mind. He added, “This isn’t a movie. This is real life.”
Johnson was escorted by police to the safety of his editor, Pete Freedman, who picked him up by car.
Ultimately, Johnson is glad that he is safe and wasn’t injured. He has expressed disappointment, however, that what he considered to have been a “model” protest was overshadowed by the shooting.
Johnson felt like the Black Lives Matter protesters and police respected one another’s boundaries, something that hasn’t always been the case in recent protests.
After a hectic few days, which included writing a first-person account of his experience, Johnson is looking forward to rest and further clarity.