Officers Dead In Dallas
Police: Dallas gunman wanted to kill ‘white officers’
DALLAS — The sniper who participated in an attack that killed five officers and wounded seven others during a demonstration in downtown Dallas was hell-bent on killing white people, especially white police officers, police said Friday.
“The suspect said he was upset about Black Lives Matter. He said he was upset about the recent police shootings,” Dallas Police Chief David Brown said at a news conference.
Brown said the suspect, who police have not identified, told officers of his hatred during an hours-long standoff after a hail of gunfire disrupted an organized march. Protesters had gathered there to speak out against the police-involved shootings of two African-American men earlier this week in Minnesota and Louisiana.
Police killed the suspect about 2 a.m. Friday when officers armed robot with an explosive device and detonated near the man in a downtown parking garage where he was cornered by SWAT officers, Brown said. The man told officers he was acting alone, but police said investigators are still trying to identify other potential assailants. The chief declined to provide specifics.
“We’re going to keep these suspects guessing,” Brown said.
Fourteen people in all were wounded in Thursday night’s ambush, which sent hundreds of demonstrators running for cover near City Hall. The victims included two civilians.
“Working together with rifles, [they] triangulated at elevated positions in different points in the downtown area where the march ended up going,” Brown said.
This was all planned ! Those who organized will be brought to justice. Another officer down
— Dallas Police Assoc (@DPA_PoliceAssoc) July 8, 2016
Members of the police department had met with protest organizers several times before the event, Brown said at an earlier, overnight news conference. The event had been peaceful with Black Lives Matter and police on site before shots rang.
“We have yet to determine whether or not there was some complicity with the planning of this, but we will be pursuing that,” Brown said.
Earlier in the evening, police published on Twitter a photo of a gun-toting man, with the message, “This is one of our suspects. Please help us find him!” The man, later identified as Mark Hughes, turned himself into police when he realized he had been identified as a person of interest and was released after being questioned for about 30 minutes, CBS News reported.
“I could easily have been shot,” Hughes told the network. He was interviewed in Dallas with his brother Cory Hughes. Both were downtown to participate in the protest.
Mark Hughes was carrying an AR-15-like gun on a shoulder holster, which is legal in Texas. After shots rang out downtown, Corey Hughes said, “I told my brother, give your gun to [police] because we don’t want an accident.”
Bystanders reported hearing dozens of shots fired near City Hall about 9 p.m. local time. The gunfire terrified hundreds of demonstrators, sending them running for cover.
Witnesses agreed that the shooter or shooters ambushed officers from a multi-story parking garage.
“The cops had no idea who was shooting at them,” Jamal Johnson told KTVT-TV in Dallas. “Everyone knew it wasn’t a firework — it was an actual shot.”
The shooting broke out just hours after President Obama — reacting to the shootings deaths of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana this week — posted an emphatic message on Facebook calling upon all Americans to confront persistent racial disparities between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
“To admit we’ve got a serious problem in no way contradicts our respect and appreciation for the vast majority of police officers who put their lives on the line to protect us every single day,” he wrote. “It is to say that, as a nation, we can and must do better to institute the best practices that reduce the appearance or reality of racial bias in law enforcement.”
Downtown residents described the chaos on social media.
“I THINK A SHOOTOUT IS HAPPENING DOWNSTAIRS OH MY GOD,” a Twitter user named Allison posted moments before capturing the sound of rapid gunfire on video.
“They’re shooting right now and there’s an officer down,” Michael Bautista says during this Facebook live stream video. Rapid gunfire can be heard in the background.
The causality count as of 7 a.m. local time:
4 — Dallas police officers deceased
1 — Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer deceased
7 — Officers wounded
2 — Civilian wounded
This is believed to be the deadliest day in Dallas Police Department history, a law enforcement source told Yahoo News.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit identified its slain officer as Brent Thompson, 43. He is the department’s first officer to die in the line of duty, officials said.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said the White House and Texas governor’s office both called to offer support.
“It is a heartbreaking morning to lose these four officers,” a visibly shaken Rawlings said prior to the fifth fatality. “To say police officers put their life on the line every day is no hyperbole ladies and gentlemen, it’s a reality. We as a city, we as a country must come together and lock arms and heal the wounds we all feel from time to time.”
Police were requesting that all citizens clear downtown streets in the aftermath of the shooting, but pockets of citizens continued to confront officers on city streets during the wee hours of the morning. The Omni Dallas Hotel, located a few blocks from the mayhem, displayed “Back The Blue” in gigantic neon letters around its building.
(This story has been updated since it originally published.)
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