DALLAS — Filmmaker and North Texan Shezad Manjee had made it through security and was heading for his gate at Dallas Love Field Monday morning.
He had almost an hour before his flight to Chicago was due to take off.
He was looking down at his phone.
And then suddenly he was in the midst of a mob being pushed into a women’s bathroom in the terminal.
He heard someone say, “active shooter.”
At first, Manjee wanted to hide in the stall that was furthest from the door.
But he remembers hearing his own voice in his head telling him he needed to protect other people.
So, he grabbed an oversized trash can and laid it flat on the floor “to make sure that whoever would try to come in would have a hard time.”
Manjee was far from the ticket counter, where suspected shooter Portia Odufuwa had fired her gun.
Passenger Tiffany James, who had just arrived at Love Field to check in for a flight to New Orleans, was only feet away.
Odufuwa first shot at the ceiling.
Then police say she fired at Dallas police officer Ronald Cronin and an innocent bystander.
Cronin fired back, taking down Odufuwa moments after she started shooting.
But moments felt like long minutes for James and others who huddled together and hid behind small kiosks and suitcases.
“We hit the floor,” James said.
She and her husband eventually ran – leaving behind her shoes and all her belongings.
Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia praised Cronin and his fellow officers for the heroism they displayed.
“We can do all the training in the world to prepare for these type of events, but what it comes down to in the end is sheer bravery and courage,” he said.
Licensed counselor Leigh Richardson, founder of the Brain Performance Center, said anyone at Love Field when the shooting and subsequent evacuation happened is likely experiencing trauma.
“Emotional trauma lives at the subconscious level,” she explained. “People will say they don’t want to think about it or they’re never going to think about it, but they will because it will work its way back up.”
Talking or journaling about it is a good way to work through it, she suggested.
While James heard and saw the shots, Manjee was removed from it.
“Just because you didn’t witness it does not mean that you did not have the same traumatic impact,” Richardson said.
“Sometimes the uncertainty – like what’s causing this stampede – sometimes that adds a whole other layer of fear.”
After Manjee landed in Chicago Monday night, he admitted he hadn’t processed all that happened but he also hadn’t stopped thinking about it.
“I was thanking God that my four-year-old son wasn’t with me,” he said. “Next week we’re on a family vacation and he’d be with us.”
Dallas police are asking for anyone with videos of the shooting to upload them here.