DALLAS (WBAP/KLIF News) – Five police officers are dead, and seven others injured after snipers ambushed law enforcement during a rally in downtown Dallas.
Gunfire erupted around 8:45 p.m. Thursday while hundreds of people were gathered to protest fatal police shootings this week in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and suburban St. Paul, Minnesota.
Security was tight Friday morning with numerous streets closed to traffic in the main downtown Dallas business district.
“It has been a long morning,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said during a press conference Friday morning. “I want to say thank you to all of the emergency personnel who have worked through the night and the courage and their calm determination to make our city safe and to arrest anybody that did us harm.” He also thanked the county, Judge Clay Jenkins, the FBI, Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and President Barack Obama.
President Barack Obama said America is “horrified” over the shootings and there’s no possible justification for the attacks. Obama spoke from Warsaw, Poland, where he’s meeting with leaders of the European Union and attending a NATO summit. Obama said justice will be done and he’s asking all Americans to pray for the fallen officers and their families. He also said the nation should express its gratitude to those serving in law enforcement.
“We’ve got a criminal investigation going on. Our number one job is to make sure the citizens of Dallas are safe, so we aren’t going to tell you anything about the suspects and we’re not going to answer any questions about it. We will when it is the right time,” Rawlings said.
“We’re hurting. Our profession is hurting. Dallas officers are hurting. We are heartbroken. There are no words to describe the atrocity that occurred to our city. All I know is that this must stop. This divisiveness between our police and our citizens,” said Dallas Police Chief David Brown.
According to Brown, officers cornered one suspect on the second floor of El Centro College and tried to negotiate for several hours. “Negotiations broke down. We had an exchange of gunfire with the suspect. We saw no other option but to use our bomb robot and place a device on its extension for it to detonate where the suspect was. Other options would have exposed our officers to grave danger. The suspect is deceased as the result of detonating the bomb. The reporting that the suspect killed himself is not accurate.”
During negotiations, the some suspect’s motives were revealed. “The suspect said he was upset about Black Lives Matter. He said he was upset about the recent police shootings. He said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated that he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers. The suspect stated that we will eventually find the IEDs. The suspect stated that he was not affiliated with any groups and that he did this alone,” said Brown.
Police found no explosives in extensive sweeps of downtown areas.
At least one other person is in custody.
“Dallas and DART police officers are some of the bravest men and women you would ever want to be associated with. You see them running toward gunfire from an elevated position with no chance to protect themselves, and put themselves in harm’s way to make sure citizens can get to a place of security. Please join me in applauding these brave men and women who do this job under great scrutiny, vulnerability and who literally risk their lives to protect our democracy. We don’t feel much support most days. Let’s not make today most days,” said Brown.
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