Steps away from an active shooter: Photographer describes what was going through his mind when capturing a shocking photo of Dallas gunman

  • Photographer Tom Fox, 51, was outside the Earle Cabell Federal Building on Monday when a masked gunman opened fire.
  • The shooter was later identified as former Army infantryman Brian Isaac Clyde.
  • A video shared by ABC News on Twitter shows Fox hiding behind a column in the building’s facçade, just steps away from the gunman as he continued to fire shots into the building.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

Photographer Tom Fox was assigned to get photos of a defendant involved in alleged charter school fraud. Little did he know that just moments later, what he believed would be a routine assignment would turn into a life-or-death situation.

Fox, a photographer for The Dallas Morning News who has worked there for 29 years, was waiting outside the Earle Cabell Federal Building in Dallas, Texas, on Monday, when former Army infantryman Brian Isaac Clyde, wearing a balaclava and carrying a high-powered rifle with multiple magazines, opened fire.

“So I pulled up my long lens and saw someone who I realised was the shooter” Fox explained to The News. “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.”

“Your journalistic instincts just kick in,” he told The Washington Post. “You use the camera almost as a shield. I also felt a journalistic duty to do all that.”


Read more:
Man shot in gunfire exchange outside Dallas courthouse dies

Fox took cover behind a column in the building’s facçade, trying to make himself “as small as possible,” he told The News.

“I was just praying in that corner that he wasn’t going to pass me,” Fox told the Associated Press. “I was just afraid he was going to be running with a gun. He was going to pass me, see me, identify me with the camera and shoot me.”

A video shared by ABC News on Twitter shows Fox just steps away from the gunman as he continued to fire shots into the building.

Clyde was later met with return gunfire from law enforcement, with two bullets striking the building a few feet away from where Fox was standing, according to the Dallas Morning News.

“I saw the puff of smoke, but I didn’t know at the time whether that was him or the police firing,” he said to The News. “I’ll never forget the sound of those repeated firing and all that glass shattering. It seemed like forever before I heard return gunfire.”

As seen in eyewitness videos, Clyde retreated toward the parking lot, where he fell to the ground injured in the gunfire exchange. Emergency responders surrounded him, and he was taken to a hospital where he was later pronounced dead, CNN reported. No witnesses or officers were injured.

“He was just so young. All I could think was ‘why?’ There’s just too many questions I haven’t processed yet,” Fox said. “But this young man, what was it all for? Was it really worth it – for this?”

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