Violence in Dallas: 5 Police Officers Dead, 7 Injured Following Downtown Protests

Emergency responders administer CPR to an unknown patient on a stretcher as law enforcement officials stand nearby at the emergency receiving area of Baylor University Medical Center, early Friday, July 8, 2016, in Dallas.

Emergency responders administer CPR to an unknown patient on a stretcher as law enforcement officials stand nearby at the emergency receiving area of Baylor University Medical Center, early Friday, July 8, 2016, in Dallas. Tony Gutierrez / AP Photo

 

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Officers were targeted in ambush-style attacks. One suspect "stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers." Police used a robot equipped with a bomb to kill him.

9:40 a.m. ET

(This post was updated at 11:30 a.m. ET to include the suspect's name and other details.)

A suspect in the shootings that killed five police officers and wounded seven others in downtown Dallas Thursday night told authorities during negotiations that he specifically wanted to kill white police officers, Dallas Police Chief David Brown said Friday morning.

"The suspect said he was upset about Black Lives Matter," Brown said, referring to the activist movement. "He said he was upset about the recent police shootings. The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers."

The violence unfolded around 8:45 p.m. local time Thursday, following an otherwise peaceful protest over police shootings earlier this week of black men in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and St. Paul, Minnesota. 

In addition to the police officers who were shot, two civilians were also hurt in the attack. Most of the wounded officers had been released from the hospital by Friday morning, Brown said. He did not provide details about their injuries, but said three officers that had been in critical condition were doing better.

Four of the deceased officers served on the Dallas city police force, and one was a Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer, identified by the agency as Brent Thompson, 43.

The suspect who made the comments Brown described was later identified as 25-year-old Micah Johnson, according to the Associated Press and other news outlets. He was killed by a bomb detonated by police, the chief said, after officers cornered him in a parking structure and negotiations that went on there for several hours failed.

After negotiations broke down, authorities exchanged gunfire with the suspect. They then used a robot to place the bomb. "Other options would have exposed our officers to great danger," Brown said of the decision to use the explosive device. He also said earlier reports that the suspect had killed himself were incorrect.

The chief made his remarks at a Friday morning press conference.

In the earlier hours of Friday morning, the chief said three other suspects were in custody. Later in the morning, he would not rule out that other suspects were involved in the shootings.

Although he did say that the dead suspect claimed to have acted alone, and to have not been affiliated with any groups.

The attack was characterized by the chief as an "ambush" with shots fired from elevated positions. 

"We're hurting, Brown said. "Our profession is hurting. Dallas officers are hurting."

"All I know is that this, this must stop," he added. "This divisiveness, between our police and our citizens."

8:40 a.m. ET

A fifth police officer has died in the attacks, the Dallas Police Department confirmed early Friday morning.

2:34 a.m. ET

While details were still developing overnight, Dallas was the scene of a mass shooting attack Thursday night following otherwise peaceful protest in the Texas city’s central business district.

Eleven police officers were shot and four were killed—three from the Dallas Police Department and one from the Dallas Area Rapid Transit agency—in what law enforcement believe was a targeted attack involving multiple suspects shooting from elevated positions.

During a news conference early Friday morning, Dallas Police Chief David Brown said that there were active negotiations underway with one suspect, who was returning fire with officers in a downtown parking garage, who was “not being very cooperative” and told officers that “the end is coming” and that there were bombs were placed around downtown.

A “rigorous investigation and search of downtown” was underway early Friday morning.

What was unfolding late Thursday night and early Friday morning was “still a very tenuous situation,” according to the chief, who said there were at least four suspects involved. “We still don’t have a complete comfort level that we have all the suspects.”

Two suspects who apparently sped out of downtown in a Mercedes were arrested following a freeway chase that ended in Oak Cliff, southwest of downtown Dallas, according to the chief.

During the news conference, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said that the city’s central business district was an active crime scene and urged residents to stay away Friday morning and to stay tuned for updates on DallasCityNews.net.

“It is a heartbreaking morning to lose these four officers that proudly served our citizens,” the mayor said, adding that that when officers say they put their lives on the line everyday serving the public, “it’s not hyperbole, it’s reality.”

A bystander was reportedly shot in the leg.

According to the Dallas Observer:

The scene was chaotic when the shots broke out shortly before 9 p.m. with some bystanders running for cover while others began to shoot videos of the action to post online.

A bystander told the Observer he heard "50 to 75 shots," though estimates of the number of shots varied wildly.

Earlier in the evening, several hundred people gathered peacefully to protest the fatal shooting by two police officer of Alton Sterling outside a Baton Rouge convenience store early Tuesday. A video of the shooting posted online showed Sterling being wrestled to the ground and shot in the chest repeatedly.

Wednesday evening, Philando Castile, 32, was shot dead during a traffic stop for a broken taillight in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. His girlfriend broadcast his final moments live on Facebook.

Protests of the officer-involved shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota happened not only in Dallas Thursday night, but in many other U.S. cities, including New York City, Philadelphia, Portland and Seattle.

“In times like this we must remember—and emphasize—the importance of uniting as Americans,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement, adding that he was making state law enforcement and other resources available to the City of Dallas.

The Dallas Police Department urged anyone in Dallas with tips to report them at iWatchDallas.com.

This is a developing story ...

Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.

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