Attack on Dallas police appears to have racial component

Sniper who killed five law-enforcement officers at a protest against police brutality said he was angry about police fatally shooting black men in Minnesota and Louisiana.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Dallas police officers take cover after being shot at on July 8, 2016.

Updated Jul 9, 2016

At least one sniper shot dead five police officers and wounded another seven during a stand-off at El Centro College garage in Dallas, Texas before the police used a robot carrying a bomb to kill him. 

The sniper shot at police during a protest against police brutality in downtown Dallas. Two black men were shot dead by policemen in Minnesota and Louisiana earlier this week.

During lengthy negotiations with police, the gunman said he had wanted to kill white people and white police officers and was angry about the recent shootings. He cited the "Black Lives Matter" anti-police-violence movement, but also said he was not part of a larger organisation, said Dallas Police Chief David Brown.

"We had an exchange of gunfire with the suspect. We saw no other option but to use our bomb robot," Brown told reporters at City Hall.

US media identified the suspect as Micah X Johnson, a 25-year-old resident of the Dallas area, citing unnamed law enforcement sources.

Three suspects were said to be in custody.

The victims include four Dallas police officers and one DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) official who has been identified as Brent Thompson, 43. 

At least three of the injured are also DART officials. The organisation's Twitter account shared the officials were not in critical condition.

The shoot-out

Earlier at a press conference with Mayor Mike Rawlings, Dallas Police Chief David Brown said there were four suspects and the fourth  – an active shooter – had taken position on the second storey of a parking garage. The police were attempting to negotiate with him. 

"Before I came here, I asked for plans to end this standoff, as soon as I leave here, I will be briefed on the plans," said Brown.

Police cars sit on Main Street in Dallas following sniper fire on July 7, 2016.

The suspect was quoted by Brown as saying, "The end is coming."

According to Brown, the shooter said: "He is going to hurt and kill more of us [law-enforcement officers]; that there are bombs all over in this garage and in downtown, so we are being very careful so we don't put our officers or the citizens of Dallas in harm's way."

He added, "We are not at a complete comfort level that we have all the suspects so we will continue a vigorous search of downtown."

In custody

Brown stated that one female and two male suspects were in custody but "we're not getting the cooperation we like [...] to know why, the motive."

Earlier, a picture of a black male was shared on social media as a person of interest, however, he was later cleared by the police when he identified himself to an officer.

In answer to a question at the end of the briefing, Brown reiterated they were "leaving every motive on the table."

The three suspects are being interrogated, but none of their personal details have been released. The police chief said the two male suspects were stopped in traffic by police officers and were carrying camouflage bags.

Previously referring to at least four attackers, Brown assessed they must have prior knowledge of protest plan as they "triangulated, [were] elevated on different positions along where the march was going on. Someone must have knowledge of the route." 

Residents and police stand near the scene where four police officers were shot dead by snipers in Dallas, Texas on July 7, 2016.

Lauding his officers, Brown said he had never been more proud of a police officer: "To have been part of this noble profession, to have seen the courage, the professionalism, the grit to stay on scene looking for suspects, knowing we are vulnerable."

He added, "The stories I heard from officers of what happened, of officers running towards the gunfire to get those injured to the hospital by patrol car..."

In an emotional moment, the governor said, "It is heart breaking to lose these four officers who probably served our citizens." He added, "That our police put their lives on the line every day is no hyperbole. It is a reality."

Rawlings reminded locals "it was still a crime scene" and asked people to check before venturing out to work on Friday.

The situation is expected to continue well into Friday as the area is swept for suspects and bombs.

The Dallas Police Department said the officers were shot by snipers during demonstrations at Belo Garden Park in Dallas.

Footage showed a heavy police presence with officers taking cover behind vehicles on the street.


Photos posted on Twitter by the Dallas Police Department showed what appeared to be several hundred people assembled on the steps of a downtown museum, many holding signs as they listened to speakers address the crowd.

In other photos and footage posted on Twitter, a crowd could be seen marching through downtown streets.

Police said the crowd, at one point, chanted "Black Lives Matter."

The protests in Dallas came as demonstrations were being held in several US cities over the most recent fatal police shootings of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana.

New York Protest

The New York Police Department said more than a dozen people were taken into custody in Times Square during protests against police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana.

This is a developing story and will be updated

TRTWorld and agencies