Mark Dallas, the school resource officer credited for thwarting a mass shooting at Dixon High School, doesn’t consider himself just a cop.
"I’m dad to all these kids," he said. "These guys, especially the senior class ... they were my freshman class when I got the job as SRO."
Dallas spoke exclusively to NBC's Ron Mott about the moment a shooter opened fire last Wednesday.
Seniors had gathered for graduation rehearsal, including his own son Josh.
"I never once feared for my life because I knew he’d protect us all," Josh said. "I was just running and I was just thinking of him in a state of shock because I knew he was going after this person."
Authorities say Dallas chased alleged gunman Matthew Milby, who was a student, out of the building.
Dallas says he recognized him immediately.
"It happened extremely fast from start to finish," the police force veteran said. "As soon as we got outside and he fired shots at me, I returned fire."
Milby was injured. The 19-year-old is being held on $2 million bail.
On that chaotic day, as parents scrambled to find their kids safe, it would be hours before Dallas would reunite with his own.
"We kind of shared some tears and some big hugs," he recalled.
Dallas also has a daughter who will be a sophomore next year at Dixon High School.
Dad is the title he’s most proud of, he said. Not hero.
The full interview will air Thursday morning on the Today Show.