DALLAS — As the city prepares to honor the Dallas Mavericks with a victory parade on Thursday, police Chief David Brown knows a thing or two about preparing for the worst. He was right in the middle of the chaos when it broke out during the 1993 parade to honor the Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys.
I was right there alongside Brown, and I can say without hesitation that in my 30 years as a reporter, I have never been more in fear for my life than on that day in downtown Dallas.
Violence erupted on every streetcorner in about a l0-block area. Kids out of school and unsupervised vandalized stores, mugged innocent bystanders, battled with cops, and even fought each other.
I remember hearing gunfire. Chaos was all around.
Then, someone stole my photographer's pager.
I chased and tackled the kid who did it in the middle of Commerce Street. The moment was captured by a Dallas Morning News photographer, and there to help rescue me from further violence (and perhaps from myself) was Sgt. David Brown, who is now Chief of Police.
In 1993, Brown was a member of the department's tactical team. He said Tuesday he's glad he has that whole experience behind him.
"It took a lot of guts to get in that crowd, but we came out unscathed, and we learned how to plan a parade from that experience," he said.
I told Chief Brown Tuesday morning I was a little embarrassed about having that photograph re-appear in The Dallas Morning News. He reminded me that it could be worse — the photograph could re-appear in Sports Illustrated, which published it back in 1993.