Yesterday, a cold rain muted Dallas. Grey clouds hung overhead, and rain pattered down. Mostly, people stayed indoors. The day before, it was sunny and warm, so the sudden cold that moved in overnight felt twice as cold. But the city also moved a little slower because, yesterday, Dallas Police Officer Rogelio Santander died at 8:11 am. Fellow Officer Crystal Almeida lay in a hospital bed, wounded, in critical condition.
On Tuesday at about 4 pm, they arrived at a Home Depot in Lake Highlands, a neighborhood in northeast Dallas. An off-duty officer working there as a security guard caught a man shoplifting. Something felt off.
The man pulled a handgun from his pocket and started shooting, right at Officer Almeida and Officer Santander, also hitting the off-duty officer, a bystander.
The shooter fled, roaring away in his shabby white Ford 250, the ladder rack rattling as he sped from the scene.
“Shots fired. Shots fired.”
The scars are fresh in Dallas. Slightly less than two years ago, Dallas was the scene of senseless violence directed at police, when a hate-driven gunman killed five Dallas police officers, who’d been protecting protestors, many of whom were protesting the police themselves. We all remember the scene. For Dallas, it’s playing out all over again.
At a press conference following this week’s shooting, Mayor Mike Rawlings spoke with the gravity of someone who’s been through this before.
These press conferences have become familiar.
These press conferences have become familiar. Last week, two Florida deputies --- Sergeant Noel Ramirez and Deputy Taylor Lindsey --- were shot dead while eating lunch. Just yesterday, Deputy Corporal Dale Lancaster of Norridgewock, Maine died in a gunfight. Police Sergeant Sean Gannon of Yarmouth, Massachusetts was shot dead in an attic.
Since the beginning of the year, at least two dozen police officers have died by gunfire --- died violently. It’s important that we hear their names. We need to see their pictures in the news and hear their stories.
Maybe it will help people see the value of their lives.