back to top

Here's The Story Behind This Heartbreaking Photo Of A Dallas Cop In Tears

“I would trade everything for this not to have happened.”

Posted on

After five police officers were killed in Dallas on Thursday, this devastating photo of an officer in tears at the hospital has emerged as one of the most iconic images from the deadly shootings.

Instagram: @tingshenphoto

The attack took place during an otherwise peaceful demonstration over police killings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota. Seven other officers, as well as two civilians, were injured.

The photo, which was taken by Dallas Morning News photo intern Ting Shen, was on the cover of Friday's newspaper as the city was still coming to terms with the tragedy.

The front page of Friday's Dallas Morning News following Thursday's shootings downtown.

Shen told BuzzFeed News he was at Baylor University Hospital as information was still trickling in about the scale of the attack. The mood was tense, and "everybody was shocked and numb," he said.

Standing about 40 feet away on the sidewalk, Shen came upon the emotional scene just inside the emergency room entrance.

“I heard sobbing. I turned around to see what was going on, and that’s when I saw it," he said.

“I happened upon the photo and I’m glad I was able to capture the horrifying situation we have here,” Shen said. “It’s just too much sadness in one week.”

Newseum

The photo was republished by newspapers across the country, including the Chicago Sun-Times, Los Angeles Times, and San Francisco Chronicle. It was also widely shared on social media.

Shen said that, despite appearances, it was actually the male officer who was comforting the woman in the photo, although both were clearly very emotional.

Many people have praised Shen's camerawork, but he said he takes little joy from the attention: “I would trade everything for this not to have happened.”

Tonight's most iconic photo was taken by a Dallas Morning News photo intern (@tingshenphoto) Well done.

“We don’t get into the news to see people die, to see people crying, suffering," he said. "No. We do it because the story has to be told.”

@ZroHour @Chandler_Rome NO. This should not be the reason to become a news photographer. I hate that photo cause I feel the pain they endure

Ishmael Daro is a social news editor for BuzzFeed and is based in Toronto.

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at ishmael.daro@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.