Police: 5 officers dead, 7 hurt in Dallas protest shooting

DALLAS (AP) — Gunmen shot and killed five police officers and wounded seven others during a protest over fatal police shootings of black men in other states, authorities said. It appeared to be the deadliest day for U.S. law enforcement since the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Thursday’s bloodshed, which unfolded just a few blocks from where President John F. Kennedy was slain in 1963, also evoked the trauma of the nation’s tumultuous civil rights era.

Police Chief David Brown blamed “snipers” and said three suspects were in custody. Mayor Mike Rawlings said a fourth was slain by police in a downtown parking garage where he had exchanged gunfire with authorities.

“We don’t exactly know the last moments of his death, but explosives did blast him out,” Rawlings told The Associated Press. Police said the man had told negotiators he intended to hurt more law enforcement officials.

Police did not identify any of the suspects. The police chief said the dead suspect had declared before his death that he was upset about recent shootings and wanted to kill whites.

The shooting began about 8:45 p.m. Thursday while hundreds of people were gathered to protest the week’s fatal police shootings in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and suburban St. Paul, Minnesota. Brown told reporters the snipers fired “ambush style” on the officers. Two civilians were also wounded, Rawlings said.

Brown said it appeared the shooters “planned to injure and kill as many officers as they could.” Video from the scene showed protesters marching along a downtown street about half a mile from City Hall when shots erupted and the crowd scattered, seeking cover.

“I think the biggest thing that we’ve had something like this is when JFK died,” resident Jalisa Jackson downtown said early Friday as she struggled to fathom the still-unsettled situation. Officers crouched beside vehicles, SWAT team armored vehicles arrived and a helicopter hovered overhead.

Demonstations were held in several other U.S. cities Thursday night to protest the police killings of two more black men: A Minnesota officer on Wednesday fatally shot Philando Castile while he was in a car with a woman and a child, the shooting’s aftermath livestreamed in a widely shared Facebook video. A day earlier, Alton Sterling was shot in Louisiana after being pinned to the pavement by two white officers. That, too, was captured on a cellphone video.

Thursday’s shootings occurred in area of hotels, restaurants, businesses and some residential apartments only a few blocks from Dealey Plaza, the landmark made famous by the Kennedy assassination.

The scene was chaotic, with officers with automatic rifles on the street corners.

“Everyone just started running,” Devante Odom, 21, told The Dallas Morning News. “We lost touch with two of our friends just trying to get out of there.”

Carlos Harris, who lives downtown, told the newspaper that the shooters “were strategic. It was tap, tap, pause. Tap, tap pause,” he said.

Brown said police don’t have a motivation for the attacks or any information on the suspects. He said they “triangulated” in the downtown area where the protesters were marching and had “some knowledge of the route” they would take.

Video posted on social media appeared to show a gunman at ground level exchanging fire with a police officer who was then felled.

Authorities have not determined whether any protesters were involved with the attack and were not certain early Friday that all suspects had been located, Brown said.

Rawlings said authorities would likely ask some people to stay away from downtown Dallas on Friday. Rawlings said a map would be posted online showing an area where people should avoid on Friday.

Early Friday morning, dozens of officers filled the corridor of the emergency room at Baylor Medical Center, where other wounded officers were taken. The mayor and police chief were seen arriving there.

Four of the officers who were killed were with the Dallas Police Department, a spokesman said. One was a Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer. The agency said in a statement that 43-year-old officer Brent Thompson was the first officer killed in the line of duty since the agency formed a police department in 1989.

“Our hearts are broken,” the statement said.

Theresa Williams told The Associated Press that one of the wounded civilians was her sister, 37-year-old Shetamia Taylor.

The identity of the other civilian casualty was not immediately known. Mayor Rawlings said he did not believe either had life-threatening injuries.

Williams said her sister was shot in the right calf and had thrown herself over her four sons, ages 12 to 17, when the shooting began.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement saying he had directed the Texas Department of Public Safety director 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,” Abbott said.

Other protests across the U.S. on Thursday were peaceful. In midtown Manhattan, protesters first gathered in Union Square Park where they chanted “The people united, never be divided!” and “What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now!” In Minnesota, where Castile was shot, hundreds of protesters marched in the rain from a vigil to the governor’s official residence. Protesters also marched in Atlanta, Chicago and Philadelphia.

President Barack Obama said America is “horrified” over the shootings and there’s no possible justification for the attacks.

He called them “vicious, calculated and despicable.”

Speaking from Warsaw, Poland, where he was meeting with leaders of the European Union and attending a NATO summit, the president said justice will be done and he’s asking all Americans to pray for the fallenofficers and their families.

He also said the nation should express its gratitude to those serving in law enforcement.

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which tracks on-duty deaths, said it was the deadliest day for U.S. police since Sept. 11.

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Associated Press writers Jamie Stengle, Paul Weber and Emily Schmall in Dallas; Amy Shafer, Sarah Rankin and Benjamin Dashley in Chicago; and Kathleen Hennessey in Warsaw, Poland, contributed to this report.

Here’s a timeline on what happened in Dallas:

6 a.m.

People gathered in small groups on Dallas’ tense, police-filled streets before dawn early Friday struggled to fathom the still-unsettled situation.

Resident Jalisa Jackson says: “I think the biggest thing that we’ve had something like this is when JFK died,” evoking the November 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy on the city’s streets. She calls it “surreal.”

Police said at least four suspects were involved in the killings of five police officers just hours before. The suspects were not immediately identified.

Downtown, officers crouched beside vehicles, SWAT team armored vehicles arrived and a helicopter hovered overhead.

Eleven Dallas officers were shot Thursday night during a peaceful protest over this week’s fatal police shootings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota in what the city’s police chief characterized as a sniper attack.

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5:45 a.m.

Dallas police say no explosives have been found in extensive sweeps of downtown areas following the fatal shooting of five police officers and the wounding of six others by snipers.

Security was tight Friday morning with numerous streets closed to vehicle traffic in the main downtown Dallas business district hours after Thursday night’s attacks.

The gunfire happened during protests over this week’s fatal police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota of two black men. Police have detained at least three people in the investigation of the Dallas shootings.

Police said a fourth suspect was engaged in a standoff with authorities and had made threats about bombs.

Maj. Max Geron (GAYR’-uhn) tweeted before dawn Friday that primary and secondary sweeps for explosives were complete and no explosives were found.

The gunfire claimed the lives of four Dallas police officers and one Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer. DART serves Dallas and a dozen other North Texas cities. The transit agency operates buses and the state’s largest municipal rail system.

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5:20 a.m.

A memorial group says the slaying of five police officers in Dallas in an attack blamed on snipers was the deadliest day in U.S. law enforcement history since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Four Dallas police officers and one Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer were fatally shot Thursday night. The gunfire happened during protests over this week’s fatal police shootings of two black men, in Louisiana and Minnesota.

Six other officers were wounded in the Dallas attacks.

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which monitors the deaths of officers, reports 72 officers were killed as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. The group labels that attack as the deadliest day in U.S. law enforcement history.

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4:30 a.m.

President Barack Obama says America is “horrified” over the shootings of police officers in Dallas and there’s no possible justification for the attacks.

Obama is speaking from Warsaw, Poland, where he’s meeting with leaders of the European Union and attending a NATO summit.

Obama says justice will be done and he’s asking all Americans to pray for the fallen officers and their families. He also says the nation should express its gratitude to those serving in law enforcement.

Snipers opened fire on police officers in the heart of Dallas Thursday evening, killing five officers and injuring six others during protests over two recent fatal police shootings of black men.

Obama said earlier there was no contradiction between supporting law enforcement and making certain biases in the justice system are rooted out.

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2:30 a.m.

Dallas Area Rapid Transit has identified its officer who was fatally shot when snipers opened fire during a downtown Dallas protest.

DART said early Friday morning that 43-year-old officer Brent Thompson was killed in the Thursday night shootings. He’d joined the DART Police Department in 2009.

DART says he’s the first officer killed in the line of duty since the agency formed a police department in 1989. The statement says “our hearts are broken.”

DART says the other three DART police officers shot during the protest are expected to recover from their injuries.

Also killed during the shootings were four Dallas police officers.

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2:10 a.m.

Police say a fifth officer has died after snipers opened fire on police at a rally in Dallas. Six other officers were injured.

The gunfire broke out Thursday night while hundreds of people were gathered to protest fatal police shootings this week in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and suburban St. Paul, Minnesota.

Dallas Police Chief David Brown said Three people are in custody and a fourth suspect was exchanging gunfire with authorities in a parking garage downtown early Friday.

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2 a.m.

A family member says a protester who was shot when snipers opened fire on police at a rally in Dallas was shielding her sons when she was injured.

A sister of 37-year-old Shetamia Taylor says Taylor was at the protests Thursday night with her four sons, ages 12 to 17. Theresa Williams says that when the shooting began, Taylor threw herself over her sons. She was undergoing surgery early Friday after being shot in the right calf.

Police say four police officers were killed and seven injured in the shootings. The shootings happened at a protest over recent fatal police shootings of black men.

Williams says two of Taylor’s sons became separated from their mother in the chaotic aftermath. She says they’re now stuck behind a police barricade at a hotel near a parking garage where police exchanged gunfire with a suspect.

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1:40 a.m.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he’s cutting short an out-of-state trip to go to Dallas after four police officers were killed and seven others injured when snipers opened fire during protests.

Abbott said in a release early Friday morning that he would be heading directly to Dallas. The shootings happened Thursday night in downtown Dallas.

Abbott also says he’s spoken with Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings to express his condolences and offer any assistance the city needs.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said in a statement that “our thoughts and prayers go out to these officers and their families, and to those who have been injured.” He said his office is in close contact with local authorities and will be offering to provide whatever support they can to help victims and bring the “perpetrators to justice.”

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1:15 a.m.

Dallas police say a person of interest whose picture had been circulated has turned himself in.

Police earlier had circulated a picture of a man in a camouflage T-shirt who carrying a long gun.

Police had no update on whether that person was indeed a suspect. However, Police Chief David Brown said authorities had three people in custody. One is a woman and two are people who were in a car stopped on a road.

A man who identified himself as the brother of the man whose photo was circulated says his brother was not one of the shooters. He told television station KTVT that once the shootings had started, his brother had turned the gun over to a police officer.

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12:50 a.m.

Dallas Police Chief David Brown says three people are in custody after snipers opened fire on police officers during protests and says a fourth person is exchanging gunfire with officers.

Brown said at an early Friday morning news conference that authorities are negotiating with a suspect in a downtown parking garage who has been exchanging gunfire with officials.

The chief says the suspect is not cooperating and has told negotiators he intends to hurt more law enforcement officials.

The shooting attack killed four officers and injured seven others. It came amid protests over two recent fatal police shootings of black men.

Brown says authorities are not certain all suspects have been located.

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12:30 a.m.

Dallas police say they are questioning two occupants of a vehicle after an officer saw a person throw a bag into the back of the vehicle and speed off.

Police said late Thursday night that an officer spotted someone carrying a camouflage bag and quickly walking down the street. The person then threw the bag into the back of a black Mercedes and sped off at a high rate of speed.

Police say officers followed the vehicle southbound on Interstate 35 to a point south of Dallas where they performed a traffic stop. Police then began questioning both occupants of the vehicle.

Television footage showed many police cars surrounding a vehicle stopped on Interstate 35.

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11:35 p.m.

Dallas police say a suspect in shooting of officers at Dallas protests is in custody and a person of interest has surrendered.

Dallas police say four officers have died after at least two snipers opened fire during protests downtown Thursday night. Seven other officers were wounded.

Police Chief David O. Brown said snipers shot from “elevated positions” during a protest over two recent fatal police shootings.

The gunfire broke out around 8:45 p.m. Thursday. Live TV video showed protesters marching along a street in downtown when the shots erupted and the crowd scattered, seeking cover.

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10:45 p.m.

The Dallas police chief says it appears two snipers shot 10 police officers during protests, and three of the officers are dead.

Police Chief David O. Brown said in a statement that three of the officers who were injured are in critical condition Thursday night. He says the snipers shot from “elevated positions” during a protest over two recent fatal police shootings.

The gunfire broke out around 8:45 p.m. Thursday. Live TV video showed protesters marching along a street in downtown when the shots erupted and the crowd scattered, seeking cover.

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SOURCE: Associated Press

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  • Joe Bafflitz

    It sounds as though when Obama slammed law enforcement the other day his people were listening.

  • FirstAmendment

    Nice to be able to say Fuck WIVB’s Censorship Bullshit!!!!