For the mother of veteran Dallas police Officer Stephen Vineyard, sleepless nights could become a matter of routine for her after the sniper attack in that Texas city Thursday night that left five officers dead.
But Chanda Winston is clinging to the realization that she is blessed to still have her son, a 2000 Meadowdale High grad. Vineyard is practicing his calling to be a role model for his children, his brother and Dayton area relatives, she told News Center 7’s Natalie Jovonovich on Monday evening.
“For me, since day one, I just can’t handle it,” Winston said. She suffers a lot of sleepless nights, “because I know what [being a police officer] entails. So it’s always like kind of scary for me. I still haven’t gotten a lot of sleep since Thursday night.”
She recalls that she heard about the shooting “watching the news. I lost my mind!”
She immediately telephoned her son, who told her he had just reported for his overnight shift as a patrol officer and gang unit specialist as word of the ambush spread across the nation on what has become the deadliest day for U.S. police officers since 9/11.
Vineyard told her that in the melee, he lost his partner and his supervising sergeant. He can’t tell her much more than that, she said, because the case remains active.
Winston said her son has told relatives things about what happened that night that he hasn’t told her.
“He’s trying to protect me,” Mom said.
“I want to say all lives matter — because I keep hearing black lives matter and people don’t understand that. Everybody knows that all lives matter. My son knows all lives matter. I was raised to love everyone and I taught my kids the same thing.
“Everybody is not bad, from policemen to regular people… What we need in the world is to start praying again and to help each other. This world is crazy. People are not getting it.”
Winston said her son joined the police department because he wants to help people and make a change. He has been with the Dallas department since November 2007.
“That was definitely horrible…that these police officers who never did anything … here they are, gone. And my son is devastated by that because they were his colleagues.”
Vineyard, she said, has expressed concerned because he’s black and a police officer.
” ‘Mom, it’s not over,’ ” Winston said he told her.