For two Dallas surgeons, police ambush is personal

Dallas trauma surgeons on deadly ambush
Dallas trauma surgeons on deadly ambush 06:59

Outside the Dallas police headquarters are two police vehicles covered in flowers, balloons and signs honoring the five fallen heroes from last Thursday's deadly ambush. Dr. Brian H. Williams, a trauma surgeon at Parkland Memorial Hospital who treated wounded officers that night, choked up Tuesday morning seeing the memorial for the first time.

Fallen Dallas officers honored at vigil 03:00
Dallas surgeon speaks out 01:46

"I was thinking, 'Why did this happen?'" Williams said, overcome with emotion. "And I just start replaying Thursday night. This shouldn't be here."

During a press conference Monday afternoon, Williams said he has thought daily about how he was unable to save the lives of some of the injured cops.

In an interview with "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King, Williams, who is black, explained why this shooting hit close to home.

"It's personal for me because I understand how black men feel with their encounters with police officers, but also many police officers are my friends and colleagues. So I'm straddling both worlds," Williams said.

Dr. Alexander Eastman, director of Parkland's Rees-Jones Trauma Center and a lieutenant in the Dallas police department, was also straddling two worlds Thursday night as a doctor and officer.

"There's been a lot of talk about race, and there's been a lot of talk about how different we are. Police, civilian, black, white," Eastman said. "And I think Brian and I are great examples -- we could not be any closer friends, brothers, colleagues. And so, when you step to the operating room table ... and you look down into someone who's hurt and injured, we all believe the same: There's no difference. We're all pink on the inside."

Williams said he respects the job of police officers, but there is more to be done in addressing racial tensions between cops and minority communities.

"Every day they go out, put their live on the lines for us. They're certainly overworked, underpaid, unrecognized, and I certainly think that that should be addressed," Williams said. "But I also do not want the fact that black men are dying in the hands of police ignored, overlooked and dismissed. This is not blaming anyone. This is not choosing sides. This is about just acknowledging that it is happening, it does exist. We need to talk about this to make some kind of change."

For longtime friends Williams and Eastman, they've been having more serious conversations about race and policing -- but from a strong basis of love for one another, Eastman said.

"We would do anything for each other and that's not hyperbole at all ... So we come at the conversation from that base, and so, to begin there gives us a starting point," Eastman said. "And that's why I hope that across America people will realize that there's a lot more that we have in common than we don't. And it's really important, I think, as we move forward with this conversation."