UNITED STATES—Five Dallas police officers were killed in Texas by a sniper who opened up fire during a peaceful protest on Thursday, July 7. Seven other officers were injured as well as two civilians, accord to The Washington Post. One suspect was killed, three are in custody, and the Dallas Police Department is still investigating the incident.
Protesters came together in Belo Garden Park in Dallas to support “Black Lives Matter” after the recent Minnesota and Louisiana police shootings, according to the DPD Twitter page and The Washington Post. The protesters marched along the streets of Dallas until they came to Lamar Street.
Gunshots were heard and protesters and police officers headed for cover. Four Dallas police officers and one Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer were killed. Only one officer’s identity has been released to the public: DART officer Brent Thompson, 43.
One suspect was killed after a three hour standoff with the police. Videos show a person with an assault-style rifle shoot an officer at point-blank range. After the standoff, and a negotiator talking at length with the suspect, police sent in an explosive device attached to a robot where the suspect was hiding and detonated the explosive.
“He said he was upset about the recent police shootings,” Dallas police chief, David O. Brown said. “The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.”
Three other suspects are in custody and reports say one suspect is a female African-American. The gunman who was killed has been identified as Micah Xavier Johnson, 25, who is from the Dallas area.
According to The New York Times, it is believed that Johnson, an army veteran, is the sole gunman in these shootings. He had no ties to the “Black Lives Matter” movement or any other political groups. The Department of Justice has contacted the Pentagon to retrieve Johnson’s military records.
“There has been a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement,” said President Barack Obama. “Police in Dallas were on duty doing their jobs, keeping people safe, during peaceful protests.”
Large bags of evidence have been removed from Johnson’s home in Mesquite, Texas. After the shootings began the DPD kept the public informed on Twitter. The DPD first reported at 8:53 p.m. Thursday night that two snipers had shot at ten police officers from elevated positions during the protest.
A picture of one of the suspects was circulated on Twitter and the person of interest turned themselves into authorities. A suspicious package was found near the location of one of the suspects around 9:30 p.m. and was being secured by the DPD bomb squad.
Picture of suspect circulated on DPD’s Twitter.
Around 10:30 p.m. the DPD posted that an officer had seen a person with a camouflaged bag walk quickly down Lamar Street, threw the bag in the back of a black Mercedes and sped away from the scene. Officers followed the vehicle southbound on I-35E, performed a traffic stop on I-35E and Kiest, and questioned both of the vehicle’s occupants.
The authorities have not stated whether they believe the one suspect who was killed and the three suspects that are in custody are all who were involved in this attack. Chief Brown said the DPD is not satisfied that they have exhausted every lead. The shooting is still under an open and active investigation.
“Our profession is hurting,” Chief Brown said. “Dallas officers are hurting. We are heartbroken. There are not words to describe the atrocity that occurred to our city.”