What We Know About the Dallas Police Shootings
Questions still outnumber iron-clad answers the morning after a group of snipers unleashed a devastating surprise assault on Dallas police officers, killing at least five and wounding seven others at the tail end of a march to protest police shootings of black citizens.
Two civilians were also wounded in the Thursday night ambush, including a woman who had taken her teenage sons to the event to show them how to peacefully protest, according to the Dallas Morning News. Following an evening filled with terrifying twists — at one point, authorities believed the attackers might have stashed bombs throughout the downtown area — Dallas Police Chief David Brown announced Friday morning that one of the suspects was killed after a long standoff in a parking garage by a police robot that had been equipped with a bomb.
Brown said that suspect — who has been identified by multiple news outlets as Micah Xavier Johnson — told police he “was upset about Black Lives Matter. He said he was upset about the recent police shootings. The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.”
CNN reported that Johnson, 25, lived in Mesquite, Texas, and didn’t have a criminal record. Brown said the man told police he had acted alone, and wasn’t affiliated with any of the protesters who had marched through Dallas on Thursday night.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 8, 2016
Early Friday morning, Brown told reporters that three other potential suspects were in custody — a woman, and two men in a Mercedes whom police said were carrying camouflaged bags. At the time, Brown said he believed all four had worked together to triangulate their positions and fire on police with rifles from elevated positions.
Additional details — like whether more people were involved in carrying out the ambush — remain unclear. Investigators searched the downtown area, but found no evidence of any explosives; Johnson had told police during his standoff that there bombs were hidden in the area.
The name of only one of the fallen police officers has been released so far: Brent Thompson, 43, a seven-year veteran of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit police force.
— Dallas Morning News (@dallasnews) July 8, 2016
Shetamiah Taylor was identified as one of the civilians who was wounded by the snipers. She threw herself on top of her 15-year-old son when the gunshots rang out, according to the Dallas Morning News. While early reports repeatedly described the march as a Black Lives Matter event, one organizer told the newspaper that the event was unaffiliated with the organization, and was simply a march to call for justice for black people who have been shot by police.
Shetamia Taylor, 37, was the one civilian shot. She was at the rally w/ her sons. She's recovering at the hospital. pic.twitter.com/T71pzEWDDL
— Brian New (@BrianNewCBS) July 8, 2016
Before the evening march was marred by tragedy, there seemed to be little tension between demonstrators and Dallas police. Images surfaced on social media of cops and protesters smiling and posing for pictures together. The Dallas Police Department has seen the number of police-involved shootings and complaints against officers fall in recent years, thanks to an emphasis on deescalation training and community policing, according to Buzzfeed.
President Barack Obama called the mass shooting “a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement,” adding that there was “no possible justification” for such an outburst of violence against police.
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