Dallas photographer Danny Fulgencio was shooting the Donald Trump rally for our sister paper, the Dallas Observer, and the Dallas Advocate on Thursday evening when a rock sailed through the air and clocked him on the forehead.
Fulgencio was standing on a concrete bench in front of the Alamo Drafthouse to get a better vantage point of the crowds of Trump supporters and protesters gathering before the hastily scheduled campaign rally slated to be held at the nearby venue, Gilley's Dallas-Southside Ballroom on Thursday evening.
Fulgencio was talking with a pro-Trump supporter standing on the bench next to him and looking down and to the left as the man introduced his wife when he felt a sharp pain on his head. Fulgencio didn't see what hit him or who threw the rock or even which side of the crowd — the Trump protesters or the Trump supporters — the projectile missile came from.
Fulgencio touched his forehead. "Am I bleeding?" he asked the man next to him. He glanced down at his hand and it was covered in blood. When he looked down at the ground, blood started gushing from his head and streaked down his face from a quarter-inch gash on his forehead. There was a rock at his feet, a stone about four to six inches long, the kind that people use to line their flower beds. As he stepped down from the bench, police officers spotted him and escorted him to the front of the Alamo Drafthouse.
"I was immediately surrounded by cameras," he says. "They were asking me questions and I guess I answered them. I don't even remember what I said, except that I got hit by a rock." The police officers and paramedics told the flock of reporters, photographers and cameramen to back off and give him some air. "I know you can zoom with that thing, so step back," one officer told the cluster of media.
Then Fulgencio went around to the side of the building where the paramedics checked him out and concluded the gash in his forehead looked bad, but wouldn't require stitches or any further medical attention.
"It looked worse than it was," Fulgencio says. "I'm not trying to be macho or anything, but I've had papercuts that hurt worse than this. It just looks really bad."
Afterward, Fulgencio grabbed his camera and went back out to continue shooting. "I already lost some of the best light of the day," he says. He went home and went to bed , but the story was already making the rounds on local media.
On Friday morning, some headlines claimed Fulgencio was hit by an Trump protester, but he insists he has no idea who actually hit him. "I really can't verify that, because I didn't see it. I've been careful to be clear about that," he says.
He also didn't think to grab the rock, he says. "I can't believe I didn't get it. That would have been a great paperweight."
Fulgencio says the whole incident is strange for him. He's been to a war zone and come out without a scratch, and now he's becoming national news for getting injured at a Trump rally. "It's weird. A lot of journalists have taken a lot worse than just getting pegged with a rock."