As the East Texas community heals from Thursday's courthouse shooting tragedy, we are learning about the countless heroic acts from the local law enforcement.
"People converged from everywhere," said Flow Downing a witness. "Officers and police cars came from everywhere."
Before they could grasp what was happening, local officers were already moving to the sound of danger.
"You don't have a choice," said Tyler PD's Assistant Chief Steve Sharon. "When you put on a badge that's a choice that you make that you're going to have to put yourself in to danger to protect the citizens of the community you work in."
It's a protection that comes with a sacrifice.
"There were court bailiffs, there were transport officers, there was a detective from the District Attorney's office and they rushed right in to it," said Smith County Sheriff J.B. Smith.
Sheriff Smith said the officers were simply doing their job.
"They're taught to respond and to get in to the action," he said, "and that's exactly what all these officers did."
Officers like Deputy Sherman Dollison, a baliff that rushed outside determined not to let the gunmen enter the courthouse. Dollison received multiple gun shot wounds and Friday night was still fighting for his life. Officials said Deputy Dollison is scheduled for another surgery on Saturday, his condition still critical.
Also injured, Lieutenant Marlin Suell. Suell normally works at the Smith County Jail, but was outside trying to help when he received a gunshot wound to the neck.
Tyler police officer Clay Perrett, an 18 year veteran, receive an injury when trying to stop the gunmen. Suell and Perrett were treated and released.
"We ask for the publics prayers for these people and the families of these victims," said Sheriff Smith. "We'd like them to keep them in mind and pray for the man that's in the hospital because he's going to need it."
Thursday was a difficult day for many officers.
"Afterwards that starts to sink in," said Chief Sharon, "and you think that could have been any one of us."
For officers trying to recover from the mental trauma of Thursday's tragedy the Smith County Sheriff's Department and Tyler Police Department are offering counseling. A critical incident stress debrief is scheduled for Monday.
A dispute over child support is the motive police say was behind a shoot-out outside the Smith County Courthouse in Tyler.More >>
A dispute over child support is the motive police say was behind a shoot-out outside the Smith County Courthouse in Tyler. The suspect, his estranged wife, and a citizen who tried to intervene are killed. Click here to read all of KLTV 7's stories on the shooting, as well as watch streaming video.More >>
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