DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Teachers and staff members from El Centro College in downtown Dallas have gone back to the site of this month’s ambush on police officers. The outside of the school remains barricaded and windows are still boarded up, but employees returned for the first time on Wednesday.
A day earlier, Chief Joseph Hannigan with El Centro College’s police department walked media members through the building and retraced the steps of Micah Johnson, the man who shot and killed five police officers, wounded several others and stayed holed up in a gunfight with authorities inside of the school.
“Once the Lamar Street doors were shot out, my officers responded to shots fired,” stated Hannigan. “As you know, he injured two of my officers.”
After shooting his way into the building, Johnson hurried up a set of stairs. An elevated window at the campus is still covered. It is the location where Johnson fired at officers who were on the ground monitoring a scheduled downtown protest. But there is one hallway corner on the second floor is where you can truly see the horror of Johnson’s actions.
Having already killed five police officers, the shooter fired hundreds of rounds inside of the school. The standoff went on until police used a robot to detonate an explosive inside of the building. The blast killed Johnson. El Centro College officials showed off what is left of that part of the school.
“I didn’t want to see anything,” stated staff member Kendra Harrison. “I know that a certain part of the building is blocked off, so we’re not able to see that. I don’t want to remember that piece. I just want to remember the officers who gave their lives and who protected our community.”
Staff members arriving on Wednesday said that it nice to be back at a place that they call home. Some were reluctant to reflect on the shooting event, but others were looking forward to seeing students again. “We’re definitely excited to see the students come back,” said staff member Robert Reyes. “We’re just excited to be back home. Like anything else, when you’ve been away from your home for a while, it’s good to be back.”
According to the college’s president, students are scheduled to resume classes at the downtown campus on Thursday.