DALLAS — Workers and jurors were rushed to safe areas of the federal court building in downtown Dallas as part of a lockdown that lasted more than five hours on Monday following a shooting at the Earle Cabell Federal Building.
Many of the eyewitnesses say they rushed for safety as suspected gunman Brian I. Clyde fired shots toward the federal building.
”I was just trying to protect myself and not get shot out here,” Don Miles said. He was heading to a hearing at the courthouse when the shooting started.
Eyewitnesses described it as an intense and chaotic morning. They witnessed adults and children running for cover as police zeroed in on the shooter.
Veronica Martinez showed up for jury duty on Monday when the shooting happened.
”It sounded like pop. Pop. And then pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop!” Martinez said,
Martinez said everyone in the area of the building where she was waiting got up and started running for cover.
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”I was pretty shaky,” said another juror Veronica Jones. “I just started praying. Honestly. There were people in there crying. Just kind of in shock. Not really knowing what to do or where to go.”
There was also some panic later, as people watched from a distance as police used a robot to investigate and detonate a device found in the suspect’s vehicle. Officers set up a perimeter around streets several blocks away.
”We got a text message that said activity lockdown is still active. Do not enter the building,” El Centro College student Christina Robinson said. She said security was tight around campus.
“I found out students are locked in the library in there. They are not letting anybody move around at all," Robinson said.
The shooting and lockdowns also had people working at nearby businesses on high alert. Fatigue began setting in for some families who were waiting at the Greyhound station. Workers said buses were not allowed to enter or leave while police had the area blocked off.
As the lockdown was lifted, workers say they dismissed floor-by-floor. Jurors held during the federal building lockdown were allowed to leave around 1 p.m. Some of them said they were primarily using cell phones and social media to get updates on what was happening around the crime scene. They said security guards were giving them updates every half hour, during the lockdown.