On Thursday night the nation watched in horror as Dallas police officers were gunned down in the streets of downtown during a protest, killing and wounding officers.

My first reaction was anger. I couldn’t believe this was happening—lately it has seemed like one tragedy after another. Then I felt a great sadness come over me as I observed an officer on the news wide-eyed and standing on the side of a street behind a telephone pole. I thought about all the officers out there trying to protect people from these sniper(s).

In light of this tragedy the E-T staff, including myself, thank all the local officers at the Stephenville Police Department, the Erath County Sheriff’s Office and state troopers for all they to do protect and serve this community, putting their lives on the line for others.

As someone who has personally had a gun pointed in my face I can assure you it is a feeling unlike any other I have experienced—adrenaline rushing, but paralyzing at the same time—and though officers are trained for nightmarish situations like this, I cannot imagine the feeling of being in the middle of a city street with gunshots firing all around while watching fellow officers fall in the line of duty.

I will never forget the many officers who came to my aid after being held at gunpoint, how quickly they responded and how they made me feel safe before escorting me away from an area that would soon haunt me.

As I followed the breaking news in Dallas Thursday night and into the early hours of Friday, I watched on social media as my family and friends wrote heartfelt posts showing their support for police officers and though it was a nice thing to see, it’s sad to me that it takes a tragic event to bring people together.

Thank you to all those who protect and serve and my heart is with the officers and their families and friends who were affected by this senseless act of violence.

I spoke to Stephenville Police Chief Jason King Friday morning to ask how he feels about this shocking event, to which he replied:

“It’s incredibly hard to quantify in words that sense of grief over police officers being targeted like that over simply doing their job in trying to help protect other people,” he said. “I know police officers all over the country are thinking about what to expect when they’re out there working. I know locally we enjoy the tremendous amount of support from the community, they show it all the time. I think we’re fortunate here in Stephenville and our community goes to great lengths to show their support on a daily basis.”