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Dallas Protest Organizer 'Devastated' By Sniper Attack On Officers


We're joined now by Jeff Hood. He is one of the organizers of the protests that took place last night in Dallas. Jeff, thank you so much for being with us.

JEFF HOOD: Thank you for having me.

MARTIN: Can you just describe, as you witnessed it, what happened? When did things start to turn?

HOOD: About 36 hours ago, you know, we decided that there needed to be, you know, some type of response to these videos coming out of Baton Rouge and St. Paul here in Dallas. And so we began organizing protests, and the entire time it was certainly intended to be a nonviolent, peaceful protest.

And we got there. There was a lot of anger in a lot of ways rightfully so. You know, a lot of people let off a lot of steam. There was a lot of grief. There was a lot of networking, and we marched. And, you know, certainly everything was peaceful. The police were commenting at how peaceful and nonviolent it was. We get to the end of the march about three-fourths of the way probably. I am talking to a police sergeant, and all of a sudden I heard pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop.

And at first I didn't know what happened. Once I realized what happened, I was close enough to where I was rubbing my stomach and rubbing my chest because I thought it was possible that I had been shot. The sergeant ran towards the shooting, and I knew that I had over 800 people behind me that I was responsible for. And so I was carrying a black, wooden cross.

And so that wooden cross instantaneously became a shepherd's crook, and I was screaming, you know, active shooter, active shooter, out of the way, active shooter, active shooter, run, run, run, run. You know, here in America, people are so used to violence that it doesn't compute with them, so a lot of times when these situations pop off. And, you know, I'm screaming go, go, go, go, go. And people start to realize what's going on, and they start running.

You know, in that crowd was my wife, and she ran. I didn't know where she was. I didn't know where a lot of people were. I did multiple interviews, and I eventually get to a point where I'm sitting in the lobby of one of the television stations just weeping. I mean, just devastated that these five officers have lost their lives, that they won't be going home to their families this morning. I am devastated. I am angry. I am frustrated.

MARTIN: Let me ask you, Jeff, do you have any idea who the suspects were involved in this?

HOOD: We don't. I know one of the suspects that they arrested that they ultimately said wasn't involved. But at the end of the day, this was a calculated, planned tactical attack. This was not the work of peaceful protesters. This was the work of people who had planned this out very much in advance.

MARTIN: I understand you're a pastor.

HOOD: I am.

MARTIN: How do you minister in a moment like this?

HOOD: You've got to believe that love is the only thing that can see us through. I mean, I'm at a point in my life where I believe now more than ever that we cannot stop violence with violence, that if we continue to resort to violence, we are going to continue to devastate and destroy our communities.

MARTIN: Jeff Hood, one of the organizers of the protests in Dallas last night, thank you so much for talking with us.

HOOD: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.