A mother who was shot in the leg while shielding one of her four sons from gunfire during the Dallas sniper attack paid an emotional tribute to the police officers who saved their lives.
Shetamia Taylor broke down in tears during a press conference at Baylor Medical Center on Sunday as she recounted the terrifying sequence of events that unfurled during the Black Lives Matter protest last Thursday.
From a wheelchair, the 37-year-old described in alarming detail how her family was preparing to leave the rally when the shooting began. As she tried to run away, a bullet struck her in the leg.
Taylor tackled her 15-year-old son, Andrew, to the ground and covered him with her body. A police officer then risked his own life to jump on top of and shield the pair.
“There was another one (officer) at our feet, and there was another one at our head,” said Taylor. “They stayed there with us. I saw another officer get shot right there in front of me.”
When it was safe to do so, the officers bundled Taylor and her son into a bullet-riddled patrol car and rushed her to the hospital for treatment. There she underwent surgery for a fractured bone, and is expected to take five months to recover.
She expressed gratitude that only she, and not her children, had been injured. “If it was going to happen to one of my sons it was going to have to happen to me first,” she said. “And it only happened to me, so I’m thankful for that.”
Taylor, who said she brought four of her five sons to the march following a conversation they'd had over the police shootings of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota, said she was “so thankful” for the officers’ heroic actions.
“Thank you for being heroes,” Taylor said. “I’m thankful for the police because they had no regard for their life and protected us.”
“They stayed there with us, they surrounded my son, and I’m so thankful for that because all I could do was lay on top of him and pray,” she said, adding she was “so sorry” that five officers lost their lives.
Despite her ordeal, Taylor said she would still consider marching in future rallies. “I don’t want them to think I’m a quitter, because I am not,” she said.
But she was keen to stress that she wasn’t an activist or a politician. “I’m just a mother and a wife,” she added. “I just want to protect my family.”