DALLAS — Five years ago, Shetamia Taylor was walking to her car after attending a protest against police brutality in downtown Dallas when shots rang out.
Taylor was hurt in the shooting that left five police officers dead on July 7, 2016. Another officer on scene, Greg Weatherford, helped Taylor. And that one interaction has grown into a close friendship.
Recently, Weatherford and Taylor visited the spot their worlds collided for the first time since that night.
“She was laying right there," Weatherford recalled, describing how he found Taylor that night. "And I came around from around that corner and found her right here.”
"It’s real hard," Taylor admitted. "Especially retracing my steps like that."
"It brings back a flood of memories, for sure,” Weatherford added.
That night in 2016, Taylor had brought her four sons to the march, part of a national day of protest following two high-profile police shootings. It was towards the end of the march, as they walking to their car, that they heard the gunfire.
”And about that time, there’s, you know, a pop, and there’s another pop,” she described.
Taylor and her sons were at the corner of Main and Lamar streets as chaos broke out, people started running and an officer told them to take cover.
"He says, 'Get down. He has a gun,'" Taylor recalled.
Seconds later she saw the officer get shot.
"I see the officer who had just told me seconds before to get down, I see him going down," she said.
Taylor now knows that officer was Sr. Cpl. Lorne Ahrens who died in the ambush.
As the shots flew through the air, she and her sons ran.
"I think maybe I get here about that far," she said, gesturing to the area, "and I felt it through the back of my leg, and it hurt, and I’m like, 'I got shot. I just got shot.'"
Weatherford was also marching - an undercover Dallas police officer in plain clothes. He ran toward the gunfire when he heard the shots and came across Taylor and one of her sons.
"I got down on top of her, and you can hear the bullets are flying, and you can hear the bullets hitting the concrete," he described. "You can see and hear the bullets popping near your head."
He could see the suspect, Micah Johnson, down the street.
"The gunfire was going crazy, and at one point, I looked up and could look down and see the shooter walking around the pillar," he said.
Weatherford watched as Johnson killed two officers. There was too large of a crowd for him to safely fire his weapon, so Weatherford focused on Taylor and her son instead.
Because he was undercover, Weatherford wasn't wearing a bulletproof vest but still shielded the pair with his body.
”I know God sent Greg at that very moment, at that very time, because he eased a lot of that anxiousness in me and my son," Taylor said.
She nearly lost her leg, but recovered and set out to find the officer she believed was her guardian angel.
”I needed to know who God sent. I needed to know," Taylor said.
Several months later, they met for the first time and forged an unlikely friendship.
"We’re totally different people that came from totally different backgrounds, but now we’re like family," Weatherford said.
They attended each other's wedding and their families became close. Taylor and Weatherford both said under any other circumstance they probably never would have met or become friends.
"I’m from the country and I have cows, and she’s a city girl, but, you know, we have the same thing: we want everything to be good," Weatherford said.
The pair said they want to show the world that a Black protester and a white police officers can be friends and can love each other. They want their story to be one of hope.
"Learn from our story, from a tragic night. Something good came from it, and, you know, if we could change one person’s mind, then job well done," Taylor said.