The Dallas shootout, in the eyes of police

Updated 10:59 AM EDT, Fri July 15, 2016
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Story highlights

Officer Brent Thompson was one of five men killed by a sniper

Military tactics and local knowledge of a building help end the shootout

(CNN) —  

All that separated Officer John Abbott from the deadliest attack on police since September 11, 2001, was a set of glass doors.

And they were about to explode.

Abbott and Corporal Bryan Shaw, both of the El Centro College police department, rushed toward the exit of a school building to investigate the sound of gunshots outside the door.

“You could hear more automatic fire, rapid fire, clear as day,” Abbott said. “That’s when [the shooter] had us coming out the door to engage.”

But before they could make it out, the bullets came to them.

“I saw Corporal Shaw double over a little bit, and the door in front of me exploded,” Abbott said.

Wearing his bike uniform – shorts and a yellow shirt – Abbott slid backward and fell onto a bed of glass, embedding pieces into his arm and right leg below the knee. Getting up, he turned to Shaw and said what they both now realized: They were outgunned.

“I told him to get our rifles, cause it’s a pistol battle against a rifle battle and you’re going to lose every time,” Abbott said.

Shaw could move, but felt discomfort underneath his bulletproof vest.

“I didn’t feel pain, so I assumed it was glass,” he said, not knowing that bullet fragments had skirted his vest and lodged in his side.

Neither man had time to care about their injuries. As Shaw went for the rifles and tactical gear, Abbott secured the door. Dallas police officers were outside advancing on the suspect, and as Shaw began to join them, he spotted an officer down.

“He was 20 feet away from the door. I got him, pulled him out