DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It was two decisions that a pair of El Centro College police officers, injured during the ambush in downtown Dallas, credit with their ultimate survival that fateful Thursday evening.
Cpl. Det. Brian Shaw and Ofc. John Abbott recalled that their police chief moved them inside of the college during the rally at the last minute. Shaw recalled that his sergeant also gave him the keys to the gun safe. “He shot at us seven, eight times? And I barely got grazed? I mean, if God hadn’t been watching me, I wouldn’t be here,” said Shaw.
Both Shaw and Abbott where shot at by suspect Micah Johnson. Shaw was grazed in the stomach and still has shrapnel inside of his body. Abbott’s legs were injured by flying shards of broken glass. Shaw stated, “You can’t tell me God didn’t plan to have all this in place.”
Both of the officers were inside when they heard the sounds of gunfire and broken glass. Without hesitating, both men moved toward the gunfire. “It’s just, we got a job to do. We’re all police, let’s go get it done,” said Abbott.
“I was shot on my left side, so we retreated,” said Shaw. “I went back to get technical gear and ARs. We went back and noticed gunfire on the Elm Street side. We noticed a trail of blood going up the staircase.”
Shaw started following the blood in the building, chasing a now fleeing suspect. “That’s our hope,” explained Shaw, “to change where he was going, and we were able to save other officers.”
Abbott spotted an man down and tried to help. It was his friend, DART police officer Brent Thompson. But it was too late, and Thompson became one of five police officers who died that night. “It was moving too quick to be scared or have any fear,” said Shaw.
The two men then met with other officers, where they would help in evacuating and rescuing more than 30 students and staff members who were stuck inside. “It’s what we do. We just did our job,” said Shaw.
The Dallas Police Department ultimately cornered Johnson on the second floor of the college. After a standoff, officers killed him using a specialized bomb robot and explosive device.
Despite their injuries — and losing a friend — both Shaw and Abbott stayed on duty until the next morning. The last few days have been rough, they said. Their path to healing is through their badge. Abbott stated, “Put the uniform on the next day and keep going.”
Shaw is set for surgery on Thursday to remove the remaining bullet fragments that hit him. Abbott just finished picking all of the glass out of his body. Both men met with President Barack Obama when he was in town on Tuesday afternoon, and said that they appreciated his support.