A protest in Dallas, Texas, turned violent when several snipers fatally shot five officers and injured at least seven others on Thursday, July 7th.
The protest was in regards to recent fatal shooting of black men by police. The most recent shoots were in the suburban St. Paul, Minnesota, and Baton Rouge, Louisana. According to Dallas Police Chief David Brown on Friday, three people are in custody. A fourth person was firing shots at authorities in a parking garage. According to a CNN report, that suspect was identified as 25-year-old Micah Xavier Johnson who is from Mesquite, Texas.
According to Brown, Johnson was not cooperative. Police took Johnson down with an explosive delivered via robot, and he died. According to what Brown said, Johnson said he was angry about police shooting black men and that he wanted white people dead. Still, according to Brown, there is not a known motivation for the attacks at this time.
The shots began firing at about 8:45 p.m. There were hundreds of people at the protest. According to Brown, the snipers were firing shots “ambush style”. According to Brown, it looked as if the shooters were planing to harm and kill a large amount of police officers. Brown said that the shooters had “triangulated” the area of the protest. He also said the shooters had to have information about how they would go about shooting the police officers. At this time, authorities do not know if any of the protesters played a part in the shootings.
According to a spokesman, four of the officers who were killed worked for the Dallas Police Department. The other officer, 43-year-old Brent Thompson, was a Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer. According to the agency in a statement, Thompson was the first officer to be killed in the line of duty since the agency’s police department was formed in 1989. The names of the other officers who lost their lives have not yet been released. According to Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Texas flags will be lowered to half-staff from Friday, July 8th, to Tuesday, July 12th, in honor of the Dallas police officers who lost their lives in the shootings.
According to Mayor Mike Rawlings, one person who was not a police officer was injured in the shootings. Prior the the shootings, protesters could be seen marching in a video. The protesters were about a half mile away from City Hall when the shots were fired. After the shots were fired, the crowd separated.
Helicopters were used to find the suspects, and officers armed with automatic rifles were searching for the suspects as well. The areas police searched included businesses, restaurants, residential apartments, hotels, and other downtown areas. According to Brown, a woman who was located in the parking garage where the standoff took place has been taken into custody. Also according to Brown, a traffic stop resulted in two other suspects being taken into custody.
As of early Friday, Brown could not say for certain that all suspects were located. According to Rawlings, the investigation is ongoing and that it remains “an active crime scene”. Rawlings said that a map would be posted online showing areas people should stay away from on Friday. According to spokeswoman Allison Mahan, the FBI’s Dallas division is assisting authorities in the area.
Abbott released the following statement in regards to the shootings, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Dallas law enforcement community and the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) officers killed and injured this evening. I’ve spoken to Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw and have directed him to offer whatever assistance the City of Dallas needs at this time. In times like this we must remember – and emphasize – the importance of uniting as Americans.”
President Obama said the following during a press conference,
“I spoke this morning with Mayor Rawlings of Dallas to convey the deepest condolences to the American people and that the Federal Government will provide whatever assistance Dallas may need as it deal with this tremendous tragedy.
We still don’t know all the facts. What we do know is that there’s been a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement. Police in Dallas were on duty, doing their job, keeping people safe during a peaceful protest. These law enforcement officers were targeted, and nearly a dozen officers were shot, five were killed. Other officers and at least one civilian were wounded. Some are in serious conditions and we are praying for their recovery.
As I told Mayor Rawlings, and I believe that I speak for every single American when I say, that we are horrified over these events and that we stand united with people and the police department in Dallas.
According to police there are multiple suspects. We will learn more undoubtedly about their twisted motivations, but let’s be clear, there is no possible justification for these kinds of attacks. Grave violence against law enforcement. The FBI is already in touch with the Dallas police; anyone involved in these senseless murders will be held fully accountable. Justice will be done.
I will have more say about this when the facts become more clear. For now, let me just say that, even as yesterday I spoke about are need to be concerned as all Americans about racial disparities in our criminal justice system. I also said yesterday that our police have an extraordinarily difficult job and the vast majority of them do their job in outstanding fashion. I also indicated the degree in which we need to be supportive of those officers who do their job each and every day. Protecting us and protecting our communities. Today is a wrenching reminder of the sacrifices that they make for us. We also know that when people are armed with powerful weapons, it unfortunately make attacks like these more deadly and more tragic and in the days ahead consider those realities as well.
In the meantime, today, our focus is on the victims and their families. They are heartbroken and the entire city of Dallas is grieving. Police across America, which is a tight-knit family, feels this loss to their core and we’re grieving with them.
I ask Americans to say a prayer for these officers and their families. Keep them in your thoughts, and as a nation, let’s remember to express our profound gratitude to our men and women, not just today but every day.”
The Dallas protest was not the only one to be held on Thursday evening. There were other protests as well. The protests came after Philando Castile was fatally shot by a Minnesota police officer while he was in a vehicle. A woman and a child were also in the vehicle. Video footage that showed the incident after the shooting was streamed live on Facebook. A day prior to Castile’s death, another man was shot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A cellphone video captured Alton Sterling being shot after two white police officers pinned him to the ground.
The Tioga Freedomist extends our thoughts and prayers to all the officers’ families at this difficult time.