BREAKING NEWS! 4 Dallas Officers Killed at Protest Over Shootings by Police
DALLAS — Four Dallas police officers were killed and seven others were wounded by snipers on Thursday night during a demonstration protesting shootings by officers in Minnesota and Louisiana this week, according to Chief David O. Brown of the Dallas police.
One suspect was arrested late Thursday after a shootout with the Dallas police, Chief Brown said.
A suspicious package was found near the suspect and was being secured by a police bomb squad.
A second man, whose photo the Police Department had released as a “person of interest,” had turned himself in, and other “persons of interest” were being questioned.
Chief Brown said the shooting was carried out by two snipers who fired down on a demonstration in the city’s downtown area that until then had been peaceful.
They “planned to injure and kill as many law enforcement officers as they could,” Chief Brown said.
“Some were shot in the back,” the chief said. “We believe that these suspects were positioning themselves in a way to triangulate on these officers.”
A civilian in the crowd of almost 1,000 people was also wounded.
The police were also combing downtown Dallas for what they believe was a bomb planted by the snipers as the heart of the country’s ninth-largest city was put on lockdown.
The chief said he had contacted the F.B.I. and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for help in the investigation.
The Police Department had released the photo of the person of interest — the man who later turned himself in — and sent out a plea on social media. “This is one of our suspects,” the Twitter post said. “Please help us find him!”
The shooting unfolded near one of the busiest parts of the city’s downtown, filled with hotels and restaurants as well as Dallas County government buildings. Videos of the scene circulated widely on social media. In many of them, multiple gunshots could be heard ringing out against a city illuminated by sirens. Teams of armed police officers could be seen running through the area.
Although the shooting occurred during a rally to protest the police shootings, it was unclear what relationship the gunmen had to the demonstration.
It was unknown what the motives were, “except they fired on the police,” said Clay Jenkins, the Dallas County judge and the county’s chief executive. “All government buildings in that area are on lockdown. That’s the government center where this is happening.”
A witness told CNN that she had been standing on Main Street shortly before 9 p.m. when “all of a sudden we started hearing, ‘Pop pop pop pop pop.’”
“I don’t think I’ve ever run so fast in my life,” she said.
The Dallas Police Association confirmed that officers were injured, posting on Twitter: “Pray for Dallas tonight. Officers down.”
More than an hour after the shootings — but before the suspects were in custody — the mood in Dallas remained tense.
In one section of downtown, officers asked an African-American man wearing a bulletproof vest to walk toward them. The man slowly approached with his hands up, and a crowd of onlookers became angry and shouted and cursed at the police. An officer had his gun pointed at a black woman, and many in the crowd quickly began filming the scene with their cellphones. The tension eased as people in the crowd chanted, “Black lives matter.”
The shootings occurred after President Obama, reacting with the same horror as many Americans to a video of a dying man in Minnesota who was shot by the police, begged the nation to confront the racial disparities in law enforcement while acknowledging the dangers that officers face.
Mayor Mike Rawlings said Dallas was “a microcosm as every city is.”
“But I think the country is longing for people to stop blaming one another and just grab each other’s arm and say we’re in this together,” he said. “That’s what we thirst for and we feel like we’re in a desert.
The protest was planned by Dominique R. Alexander, an ordained minister and the head of the Next Generation Action Network.
He said that the organization “does not condone violence against any human being, and we condemn anyone who wants to commit violence.”
“I was right there when the shooting happened,” Mr. Alexander said. “They could have shot me.”