Shots rang out at a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Dallas on Thursday night. Twelve police officers were shot, five fatally, by snipers who were reportedly shooting from elevated positions. One civilian was also injured.
Three people are in custody and a fourth is dead, according to Dallas Police Chief David Brown. The fourth suspect was killed by a police robot detonating a bomb after an extensive standoff and negotiations, according to a press conference given by Brown. According to Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, information about the suspects is not being released in order to preserve the criminal investigation.
The protests were organized to pay tribute to Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, two men who were killed by the police this week. According to local reports, the protests were peaceful before the shots rang out. Leading members of the Black Lives Matter movement condemned the shooting.
— David Tarrant (@davetarrantnews) July 8, 2016
Once the shots rang out, though, the situation turned to chaos, with reports emerging of active shooters and an increasing body count. Public transportation in Dallas was shut down, and police asked everyone to leave downtown Dallas, according to CBS Dallas. Videos show teams of officers running through downtown, with the shooters at-large and active for a period of time after the initial shots.
Video of some of the shooting was captured by bystanders.
FacebookEdit descriptionwww.facebook.comAccording to Brown, the suspects perched in garages in downtown Dallas and triangulated the officers, and planned to kill and injure police officers. Initial reports incorrectly identified one person of interest, who turned himself in and was subsequently let go.
The suspects in custody were “being pretty tight lipped,” about their motivations, Brown said at a press conference Thursday night. On Friday, he reported that in negotiations with the deceased suspect, the man said he was upset about Black Lives Matter, upset at white people, and wanted to kill white police officers. He also said he was acting alone and was not affiliated with any group.
The Police Chief and Governor also spoke to the need to preserve the right to protest peacefully.
— Jason Whitely (@JasonWhitely) July 8, 2016
“There is no possible justification for these kinds of attacks, or any violence against law enforcement,” he said. “We also know that when people are armed with powerful weapons, unfortunately it makes attacks like these more deadly and more tragic. And in these days ahead we’re going to have to consider those realities as well.”
His statement came just hours after giving a statement addressing the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, in which he spoke both about his support for law enforcement and the need to address racial disparities in policing.
“There is no contradiction between us supporting law enforcement — making sure they’ve got the equipment they need, making sure that their collective bargaining rights are recognized, making sure that they’re adequately staffed, making sure that they are respected, making sure their families are supported — and also saying that there are problems across our criminal justice system, there are biases — some conscious and unconscious — that have to be rooted out,” he said, a statement he alluded to hours later when speaking about the Dallas killings.
This is a breaking news post and has been updated as new information has emerged.