DALLAS, TX (KTRE) - All around the world, people are mourning the lives of five Dallas police officers that were brutally killed in the line of duty, and several people with ties to deep East Texas found themselves in the middle of gunfire.
"We heard at least 30 rounds, and it was just quick, 'Pow, pow, pow,'" said Taylor Coonce, who was eating with her boyfriend just feet from where first responders arrived on scene.
"I mean, in all honesty it just didn't seem real, it was like a movie," said Larry Hunter who uploaded some of the first video on social media just moments after hearing shots.
Chad Brantley, who moved from Nacogdoches to Fort Worth, was on vacation with his family when he said what looked like thousands of cop cars suddenly swarmed downtown Dallas.
"Suddenly you could hear gunshots even up on the reunion tower," Brantley said.
Possibly most shocking was the account from Sidney Arrington, who attended the peaceful rally alone last night. He said the officers were only protecting their right to protest.
"I just want people to keep the rally and the shooting separate," Arrington said. "It was never anything violent - it was make sure you vote, make sure you are involved and doing what you can, but in the right way, not like this."
These four different people that each called East Texas home at one point or another saw different sides of the tragedy that will go down as the most deadly attack on law enforcement since 9/11.
"It doesn't register that it's gunshots, and you hear about it happening everywhere else, and it doesn't matter where it happens, it's still horrible, but when it's your home, it's surreal," Coonce said.
Arrington said when shots rang out, she had no idea what direction they were coming from or who was the target until a friend texted and asked if she was okay because two officers had been killed.
"Next thing I know, I hear gunshots, and everyone is screaming to run, but until someone contacted me, we still had no idea what was going on. It was just horrible," Arrington said.
The family that watched it all happen from the top of Reunion Tower said they almost stayed downtown to watch the rally,
"I couldn't believe it. I think everyone on that tower was just in shock," Brantley said. "Now, this will go down as something we never forget, but not in a good way."
Each of these witnesses are safe today, and they all agree that it's thanks to the bravery of the men and women that risked their lives in the line of duty.
"Now they are taken from their families, I can't imagine," Arrington said. "Here they are doing a great job of allowing us to exercise our rights."