The Dallas Morning News sent photographer Tom Fox downtown to take a photo of a fraud defendant when she arrived at the federal courthouse Monday morning. He got something better, the New York Times reports: A man in the middle of a shooting rampage, in tactical gear, carrying a military-style, high-powered rifle, looking right at the camera. The 22-year-old Army veteran had opened fire at the courthouse before being shot to death by officers. No one else was killed or wounded. Fox had just photographed a security guard and a man in a suit as they ran past him, and was trying to figure out what was going on when he looked through his camera lens and saw the gunman. Instead of turning and running, Fox took photos.
Those photos provide a rare look at a shooting from the view of someone in danger, the Washington Post notes. Fox also took photos of people fleeing and officers responding. In the middle of it, Fox realized the danger he was in. The gunman was later found to have had more than 150 rounds of ammunition. "I just prayed that he didn't walk past me cause I'm in plain sight, and if he saw me sitting there with a camera, I have no doubt he would have shot me," Fox said, per CBS News. He told the Morning News, where he's worked for 29 years: "Your journalistic instincts just kick in. You use the camera almost as a shield," adding, "I also felt a journalistic duty to do all that." (Read more photographers stories.)