An Army veteran who wanted to kill white people shot 12 Dallas police officers – and five have died – from elevated positions at a Black Lives Rally march/rally that was organized to protest the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, according to Dallas Police Chief David Brown. Two citizens were also wounded.
“It’s a heartbreaking morning,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, in a live news conference. The news came around 2 a.m. that a fifth officer had died. The news was confirmed on the Dallas Police Department’s Facebook page. Speaking from Warsaw, President Barack Obama called the attack a “vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement.”
On Friday morning, the police chief said in a live press conference that the suspect, now believed to be a lone gunman, was killed by a detonation set by police through a robot and didn’t kill himself. Chief Brown said the suspect told police he was upset about Black Lives Matter and recent police shootings. The shooter was identified as Micah Xavier Johnson, of Mesquite, Texas.
The second officer identified by family on social media and in other news accounts was Zamarripa; relatives posted that he was a veteran and family man, and he had posted on Twitter about how much he loved America.
The Dallas police chief had said in a 12:30 a.m. news conference that authorities were still “negotiating” with a suspect with whom they had exchanged gunfire over the previous 45 minutes. He said the suspect told police that: “The end is coming” and said “He’s going to hurt and kill more of us” and “That there are bombs all over the place in this garage and downtown.” Before sunrise, though, the fourth suspect was dead, although it was initially unclear how, CNN said.
Brown said the dead officers were four from Dallas PD and one from the Dallas Area Rapid Transit System (Thompson). He said he was proud to be part “of this noble profession.” According to the chief, at the earlier press conference, he was not yet comfortable that all suspects involved were identified. “We as a country must come together… and heal the wounds,” said Mayor Mike Rawlings.
In addition to the five deceased officers, seven other officers were wounded; they were in surgery (one at Dallas’ famed Parkland Memorial Hospital), and an “intensive search” had unfolded throughout the night, the statement from Chief Brown said. He said two civilians were injured.
Police had a live press conference on Periscope earlier in the night. The police chief had said earlier in the night that 10 were shot, but CNN reported around midnight that 11 officers had been shot. By morning that count grew to 12.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Shooters Tried To ‘Triangulate’ The Cops & The Chief Calls It an Ambush
Dallas Morning News reporter Naomi Martin quoted Dallas police as saying: “Suspects were trying to ‘triangulate’ the officers from ‘two different perches’ – DPD Chief.”
The New York Post quoted Chief Brown as saying, “the snipers fired upon officers ‘ambush style.'”
The Dallas Morning News reported that a witness recounted how one of the shooters said, “‘Somebody’s fixing to get killed tonight – an officer’ then shot DART officer in back.”
The news reports became more and more shocking as the night progressed. There were unverified reports on Twitter that someone had a rifle. WFAA-TV reported on Twitter that there were also possibly shots fired at the downtown Omni hotel and at the Dallas Greyhound station, and that cops were telling people to run through red lights to avoid being shot.
WFAA-TV reported that police were “asking city to rewind downtown cameras to look for potential suspects who got out of a Suburban during protest.”
WFAA-TV reporter Jason Whitely wrote on Twitter: “I’m with 10 officers right now on a downtown corner. Some visibly angry. Some calm. Planning what to do if they have to move.”
A staff photographer for the Dallas Morning News captured the shooting on video:
Fox News ran live footage that appeared to show an officer down.
2. Several Citizens Filmed Parts of the Shooting With Cell Phone Video
In what was sort of a modern twist on the Zapruder film, one man captured the shooter slaying an officer; another man captured the shooter and an officer down; and a woman filmed the sounds of rapid gunfire from her living room window.
Watch another video of the scene:
Helicopters buzzed over the Omni Hotel as reports swirled there was a shooting there too, but that report didn’t pan out in the chaos of the evening.
“Police ordered the clearing of all streets in downtown Dallas late Thursday night. There had been reports of an active shooter at the Omni Hotel in Dallas,” reported CBS. It was not immediately clear what happened, if anything, at the Omni.
The Dallas Area Rapid Transit System (DART) said that all bus and rail transit was being suspended due to the “criminal activity.”
The pursuit for the suspects was a chaotic process. A Dallas News reporter tweeted that cops had one suspect pinned down. Dallas Morning News reporter Naomi Martin Tweeted that the chief said one suspect was “cornered” and that the suspects had also threatened to plant a bomb in downtown Dallas. The New York Post reported cops were negotiating with a suspect in a garage.
3. There Were Conflicting Reports On How Many Officers Were Down Throughout the Night
Names of the deceased police officers (other than Thompson and Zamarripa were not officially released yet, but the father of one injured officer identified her as Misty McBride, a DART officer, and said she was shot in the arm and abdomen and is awaiting surgery, according to a Texas Tribune investigative reporter.
One of the deaths, that of Thompson, was reported by the Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s Dart Media page.
It was a very fluid, active scene. Some much earlier reports had said shots were merely fired or one officer was down. One earlier report said that live images showed “multiple officers down.”
By late evening, many news stations were reporting that only two officers were shot. Fort Worth TV station NBC DFF reporter Courtney Gilmore said on Twitter that: “A Dart police officer and a Dallas police officer were taken to the hospital after shooting.” Then came the grim news from the police chief’s statement: 10 had been shot, three were dead, and others were fighting for their lives. Then three dead became four as the city and nation grappled with the news. And, in the early hours of the morning, four became five.
Dallas News reporter Caleb Downs wrote on Twitter that one officer was at Parkland Hospital and the other at Baylor (Parkland is the hospital where John F. Kennedy died).
4. Three Suspects Were in Custody Under Interrogation & Witnesses Heard 20-30 Shots
Preliminary reports on Twitter were that there might be a rifle involved. The chief said that snipers were positioned in elevated positions at the protest. CBS News reported that witness accounts varied, with some hearing as many as 20-30 shots.
By the time the dust had settled three suspects remained in custody being interrogated with one dead. The chief said the three are being interrogated; he released nothing about motive or identity. One suspect is a woman. The suspect who died was the one who’d engaged in a standoff with police in a garage.
5. Cops Published a Photo of the Suspect but His Brother Says he Wasn’t Involved
Dallas police published a photo of the possible suspect on Twitter (the man who turned himself in to police).
However, the protest’s organizer told CBSDFW that the man, his brother, was not involved. He implored the media to spread the news later in the night that his brother was carrying a weapon legally and had nothing to do with the shooting.
The chief said in the news conference that it’s not yet known whether the shooters were part of the protest organizing. He said a Facebook post threatening officers is being investigated to see if there is a connection.
Police also stopped a person walking with a camouflage bag in the intensive manhunt.
One man said an officer saved his life.
The march was organized to protest the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.
Both men were shot by the police in recent high profile incidents. President Barack Obama spoke on the shootings Thursday saying that they were signs of racial mistreatment in America. Sterling was shot to death outside a Baton Rouge convenience store in a shooting captured on cell phone video. Castile was shot during a traffic stop in Falcon Hills, Minnesota; his girlfriend streamed the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook Live.
In both cases, top officials have called for Justice Department investigations. The Dallas march was designed to protest those shootings and was one of a series of such protests to erupt in the wake of the Castile and Sterling deaths.
Read more about this breaking news in Spanish at AhoraMismo.com: