U.S. Army reservist aimed to 'kill white
people' in Dallas police ambush
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[July 08, 2016]
By Ernest Scheyder and Marice Richter
DALLAS (Reuters) - A black U.S. Army
reservist who served in the Afghan war and said he wanted to "kill white
people" took part in an attack in which five police officers were shot
dead at a protest decrying police shootings of black men, officials said
Seven other police officers and two civilians were wounded in the ambush
in downtown Dallas on Thursday night, officials said. Police killed the
gunman, identified by a U.S. government source as Micah Xavier Johnson,
with a bomb-carrying robot after cornering him in a parking lot, ending
an hours-long standoff.
The sound of gunfire from a high-powered rifle sent a panicked crowd of
hundreds of protesters screaming and running for their lives near the
end of a march to protest police killings of black men this week in
Minnesota and Louisiana. Police officers at the time believed they were
under attack by several gunmen in multiple locations.
The Louisiana and Minnesota shootings, both now the subject of federal
investigations, were the latest in a series of police killings that have
triggered protests over police use of force against black suspects and
racial disparities in the American criminal justice system.
Black Lives Matter, a decentralized movement, arose after those killings
to protest the treatment of black people by U.S. law enforcement.
"This was a well-planned, well-thought-out, evil tragedy by these
suspects. And we won't rest until we bring everyone involved to
justice," Dallas Police Chief David Brown said. "We are determined to
not let this person steal this democracy from us."
During lengthy negotiations with police, the gunman told reporters he
was angry about the Louisiana and Minnesota killings, Brown told
"The suspect said he was upset about Black Lives Matter," said Brown,
who is black. "The suspect said he was upset at white people. The
suspect stated that he wanted to kill white people, especially white
Johnson was a member of the group "Black Panther Party Mississippi" on
Facebook, which has over 200 members. Earlier this month he shared a
video showing what he described as white people killing what looked like
dolphins or whales.
"Look at the joy on their faces. Why do so many whites (not all) enjoy
killing and participating in the death of innocent beings," Johnson
wrote. Its authenticity could not be immediately confirmed.
'HEARTACHE AND DEVASTATION'
Authorities said that the gunman fired at least some of the shots in the
attack but have not ruled out that other shooters were involved. Details
on how the shootings unfolded remained unclear. It also was not clear
how one person could have shot so many officers, though video of the
attack taken by a witness shows a gunman carrying an assault-style
weapon and carrying large amounts of ammunition.
The video shows a man with a rifle crouching at ground level and
charging at and then shooting another person who appeared to be wearing
a uniform. That person then collapsed to the ground.
Reuters could not immediately confirm the authenticity of the video.
It was the deadliest day for police in the United States since the Sept.
11, 2001, attacks.
The U.S. Army said Johnson had served as a private first class in the
Army Reserve, made up of part-time soldiers, and was deployed to
Afghanistan from November 2013 to July 2014. It said Johnson served from
March 2009 to April 2015 and was a carpentry and masonry specialist with
the 420th Engineering Brigade based in Texas.
President Barack Obama called the shooting "a vicious, calculated and
despicable attack on law enforcement." Obama, who was in Poland for a
NATO summit and has been stymied by the Republican-led Congress in his
bid for new gun control laws, added, "We also know when people are armed
with powerful weapons unfortunately it makes attacks like these more
deadly and more tragic."
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Police cars remain parked with the pavement marked by spray paint,
in an aerial view of the crime scene of a shooting attack in
downtown Dallas, Texas, U.S. July 8, 2016. REUTERS/Brandon Wade
Three of the slain officers were identified on Friday. One was Brent
Thompson, 43, who joined the Dallas Area Rapid Transit police
department in 2009, according to police. Another was Patricio
Zamarripa, 32, an U.S. Navy veteran, according to his family. Also
killed was Michael Krol, 40, according to the Wayne County Sheriff's
Office in Michigan, where he used to work.
Reverend Jeff Hood, an organizer of Thursday night's protest in
Dallas, said he had been chatting with some of the police officers
on the street when gunfire erupted.
"I saw what I believe were two police officers that went down. I
didn't know what to do," Hood told reporters on Friday. "If we
continue to turn to violence, we are going to continue to see
heartache and devastation."
A string of killings of black men and boys by police in cities
including Ferguson, Missouri, New York, Baltimore, Chicago,
Cleveland, Tulsa, Oklahoma and North Charleston, South Carolina gave
rise to the Black Lives Matter movement against excessive police
A Twitter account describing itself as representing the Black Lives
Matter movement sent the message: "Black Lives Matter advocates
dignity, justice and freedom. Not murder."
Police in Dallas said they were questioning two occupants of a
Mercedes they had pulled over after seeing a man throwing a
camouflage bag inside the back of the vehicle, which then sped off
on a downtown street. A woman was also taken into custody near the
garage where the standoff took place.
The Dallas shootings happened as otherwise largely peaceful protests
unfolded around the United States after the police shooting of
Philando Castile, a 32-year-old black man, on Wednesday during a
traffic stop near St. Paul, Minnesota.
The day earlier, police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, shot dead Alton
Sterling, 37, while responding to a call alleging he had threatened
someone with a gun.
Both killings were captured on video, with Castile's girlfriend
broadcasting the bloody aftermath of his shooting live on the
Cleveland police officials have tightened their security plan for
the July 18-21 Republican National Convention as a result of the
shootings of in Dallas, Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba said.
(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee, Eric M. Johnson in
Seattle, Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas, Letitia Stein in Tampa,
Florida and Laila Kearney and Gina Cherelus in New York and Mark
Hosenball in London; Writing by Scott Malone and Jon Herskovitz;
Editing by Alison Williams and Jeffrey Benkoe)
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