Snipers operating from rooftops in Dallas killed five police officers and wounded seven others in a coordinated attack during one of several protests across the US against the killing of two black men by police this week.
Police described Thursday night’s ambush as carefully planned and executed, and said they had taken three people into custody before a fourth died. Dallas-based media said the suspect died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after a standoff that extended into yesterday morning.
The fourth suspect exchanged gunfire with police during the standoff at a downtown garage and warned of placing bombs throughout the city. Police have not confirmed his death, but said no explosives have been found.
Photo: The Dallas Morning News via AP
The attack came in a week that two black men were fatally shot by police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and outside Minneapolis. The killings, both now the subject of official investigations, inflamed tensions about race and justice in the US.
The shots rang out as a protest in Dallas was winding down, sending marchers screaming and running in panic through the city’s streets.
It was the deadliest day for police in the US since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington.
Photo: The Dallas Morning News via AP
A total of 12 police officers and two civilians were shot during the attack, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told CBS News. Three of the officers who were shot were women, he said.
Rawlings said the people in custody, including one woman, were “not being cooperative” with police investigators. He said the assailant who was dead was being fingerprinted and his identity checked with federal authorities.
Police were still not certain they knew all of the individuals involved in the attack, he said.
No motive has been given for the shootings at the downtown protest, one of many held in major cities across the nation on Thursday. New York police made more than a dozen arrests on Thursday night, while protesters briefly shut down one of Chicago’s main arteries.
One of the dead officers was identified as Brent Thompson, 43. He was the first officer killed in the line of duty since Dallas Area Rapid Transit formed a police department in 1989, DART said on its Web site.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown said the shooters, some in elevated positions, used rifles to fire at the officers in what appeared to be a coordinated attack.
“[They were] working together with rifles, triangulating at elevated positions in different points in the downtown area where the march ended up going,” Brown told a news conference, adding that a civilian was wounded.
US President Barack Obama, who was in Warsaw for a NATO summit, expressed his “deepest condolences” to Rawlings on behalf of the American people.
“I believe I speak for every single American when I say that we are horrified over these events and we are united with the people and police department in Dallas,” he said.
Obama said the FBI was in contact with Dallas police and that the federal government would provide assistance.
“We still don’t know all of the facts. What we do know is that there has been a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement,” he said.
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