Snipers kill five Dallas police during
protest over black shootings
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[July 08, 2016]
By Lisa Maria Garza
DALLAS (Reuters) - Snipers operating from
rooftops in Dallas killed five police officers and wounded six more in a
coordinated attack during one of several protests across the country
against the killing of two black men by police this week.
Police described Thursday night's ambush as carefully planned and
executed and had taken three people into custody before a fourth
died from what Dallas-based media said was a self-inflicted gunshot
after a standoff that extended into Friday morning.
The fourth suspect had exchanged gunfire with police during the
standoff at a downtown garage and warned of placing bombs throughout
the city. Police have yet to confirm his death.
The attack, which took place as a protest in Dallas was winding up
under the watch of officers, was one of the worst mass shootings of
police in U.S. history.
White House officials have spoken with Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings
about the shooting that turned the downtown of one of the largest
U.S. cities into a sprawling crime scene, unfolding along streets
that house major corporations, restaurants and government offices.
President Barack Obama, while in Poland, said he had spoken to
Rawlings and expressed his "deepest condolences" on behalf of the
"I believe I speak for every single American when I say that we are
horrified over these events and we are united with the people and
police department in Dallas," he said.
Obama said the FBI was in contact with the Dallas Police Department
and that the federal government would provide any assistance to
Dallas as it deals with the incident.
"We still don't know all of the facts. What we do know is that there
has been a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law
enforcement," he said.
No specific motive has been given for the shootings at the downtown
protest, one of many held in major cities across the United States
on Thursday. New York police made more than a dozen arrests on
Thursday night, while protesters briefly shut down one of Chicago's
Dallas Police Chief David Brown said the shooters, some in elevated
positions, used sniper rifles to fire at the officers in what
appeared to be a coordinated attack.
"(They were) working together with rifles, triangulating at elevated
positions in different points in the downtown area where the march
ended up going," Brown told a news conference, adding a civilian was
"It has been a devastating night. We are sad to report a fifth
officer has died," Dallas police said on Twitter.
Mayor Rawlings advised people to stay away on Friday morning as
police combed the area where large areas have been cordoned off and
transport halted. Federal authorities also halted commercial air
traffic for the area as police helicopters hovered over the scene.
"Our worst nightmare has happened," he said. "It is a heartbreaking
moment for the city of Dallas."
Police were conducting bomb sweeps throughout downtown Dallas, where
officials said many county offices were to be closed on Friday.
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A still from video during a sniper shooting in Dallas, during a
demonstration against police shootings. REUTERS/Reuters TV
The Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area is one of the nation's most
populous and is home to more than 7 million people.
The use of force by police against African-Americans in cities from
Ferguson, Missouri, to Baltimore and New York has sparked periodic
and sometimes violent protests in the past two years and has spawned
the Black Lives Matter movement.
Anger has intensified when the officers involved in such incidents
have been acquitted in trials or not charged at all.
The shooting happened as otherwise largely peaceful protests
unfolded around the United States after the shooting of Philando
Castile, 32, by police near St. Paul, Minnesota, late on Wednesday.
His girlfriend posted live video on the internet of the bloody scene
minutes afterward, which was widely viewed.
The suspect in the standoff had told police "the end is coming" and
that more police were going to be hurt and killed. Brown said the
suspect also told police "there are bombs all over the place in this
garage and downtown".
Police said they were questioning two occupants of a Mercedes they
had pulled over after the vehicle sped off on a downtown street with
a man who threw a camouflaged bag inside the back of the car. A
woman was also taken into custody near the garage where the standoff
was taking place.
"We are leaving every motive on the table on why this happened and
how this happened," Brown said.
Rawlings visited the wounded at Parkland hospital, the same hospital
where President John F. Kennedy was taken after he was shot in
Dallas in November 1963.
Outside, officers stood in formation and saluted as bodies of the
officers were about to be transported.
One of the officers killed has been identified. He is Brent
Thompson, 43, and an officer with Dallas Area Rapid Transit.
(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee, Eric M. Johnson in
Seattle, Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas, Letitia Stein in Tampa,
Florida; Writing by Brendan O'Brien and Jon Herskovitz; Editing by
Paul Tait and Alison Williams)
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