Five police officers were killed and seven others were wounded at a protest in Dallas, Texas on Thursday.
Protestors had assembled in downtown Dallas when the shooting began. The protest was a response to the release of videos depicting two African American men being shot and killed by police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota. The killings resulted in protests and debates on police officers’ use of force.
The attack caused hysteria among the crowd as people ran for cover. A Dallas bomb squad robot killed a gunman after failed negotiations. The dead attacker has been identified as 25-year-old Micah Xavier Johnson, a military veteran who served in Afghanistan. Police searched his home on Friday and found bomb-making materials, rifles, ammunition, and a journal of combat tactics.
Johnson served in the U.S. Army Reserve from March 2009 to April 2015. He was deployed from late 2013 to mid-2014 in Afghanistan before receiving an honorary discharge.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings confirmed that Johnson was “the lone shooter in this incident,” who “had written manifestos on how to shoot and move.” There may have been others involved in planning the attack. The attack is the deadliest single incident for U.S. law enforcement since September 11, 2001. Along with the 5 police officers who were killed and the 7 others who were wounded, two civilians were hurt.
During negotiations, which lasted hours at a parking garage, Johnson told police negotiators that he was upset by recent police shootings and that he wanted to kill white people, particularly white officers. He also told negotiators that he acted alone. Prior to his death, Johnson told negotiators that bombs had been planted in multiple areas in downtown Dallas and that more officers were going to get hurt. Police swept the area and found no explosives.
The Black Lives Matter movement has condemned the shootings and Johnson.
Law enforcement officials have reported that Johnson had at least two weapons with him, a rifle and a handgun. They have also revealed that at least two snipers fired “ambush-style” from an “elevated position.”
The Reverend Jeff Hood, a protest organizer, watched two officers go down and saw a sergeant running toward the gunfire. He described being concerned about the hundreds of people behind him.
“I was screaming, ‘Run! Run! Active shooter! Run!’ And I was trying to get folks out as fast as I could.”
People ran into a parking garage, screaming and trying to escape the gunshots.
The five deceased officers were identified on Friday.
Dallas Police Officer Lorne Ahrens was killed. He was a 14-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department.
Dallas Police Officer Michael Smith was also killed. He joined the Dallas Police Department in 1989.
Dallas officer Michael Krol was also killed. The last two officers killed were Dallas officer Patrick Zamarripa and DART Police officer Brent Thompson. At least ten officers were shot by a sniper and one officer was shot in a shootout at the parking garage. Several wounded officers remain hospitalized.
Authorities have taken three people into custody. They are investigating the possibility that one suspect did do some of the shooting.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown asked for community support, saying “We don’t feel much support most days. Let’s not make today most days.”
“We’re hurting. Our profession is hurting. All I know is that this must stop—this divisiveness between our police and our citizens.”
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch spoke on the tragedy in Dallas.
“After the events of this week, Americans across the country are feeling a sense of helplessness, of uncertainty and of fear. Now, these feelings are understandable and they are justified,” she said,” but the answer must not be violence.”