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DALLAS (CBS11) – The photograph has gone viral with thousands and thousands of shares all around the world.

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But the story behind a stunning image of a Dallas police officer during the sniper attacks might be just as powerful.

Robert Moore at first did not think he captured anything on Thursday night, until he got home.

“I start taking the exposure back, opening up the shadows. I go, ‘oh my god, there is something here,’” said Moore.

The amateur photographer was right there in Downtown Dallas, running for his life.

“There were a couple of pop, pops. I looked to the right and I saw an officer hit and fall. That’s when I knew this was real,” said Moore.

He ducked behind the nearest large object, a Dallas police car.

“I mean it did really open up. It’s loud, you don’t know where it’s coming from, you’re disoriented,” said Moore.

Eventually, Officer James Dylan Smith, 25, joined him.

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Moore said for the next two hours, the officer shielded him and kept him calm.

Ambush photo (Robert Moore- photographer)

Ambush photo (Robert Moore- photographer)

“I think the instinct is to leave and their instinct is to protect,” said Moore.

Moore took three photographs of Smith sweaty, focused and watching like a hawk.

“I think it shows the commitment that those guys sign up to do every day,” said Moore.

While he has not had a chance to speak to the man who protected him so selflessly, Moore said he would thank him for making sure he lived another day.

“Of course it’s humbling. Very humbling,” said Moore.

Police departments around the country have reached out to Moore requesting copies of the photos.

Various departments want the image to show their officers what to aspire to as police.

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