With a nation on edge over recent police shootings, tensions boiled over into tragedy yet again tonight as 11 police officers were shot, four of them killed, by two snipers during a protest rally in downtown Dallas. Gunshots rang out amid the rally, which was held to protest the police shootings this week in Louisiana and Minnesota. It ranks as one of the worst attacks on U.S. law enforcement in the last 100 years.
Witnesses told CW33 that they heard 50 or more rounds fired around 9:00pm, with protesters and officers diving for cover. Several of the officers were shot in the back. One of the news outlet’s photojournalists said “he saw a man walking around a black SUV, who then opened the back end, pulled out a rifle, and started firing.” According to the Dallas police scanner, one suspect wearing body armor was walking back and forth on the 7th floor of the Bank of America building.
UPDATE 12:00am: Police say they have reason to believe there may be a bomb planted by the suspects in the downtown Dallas area, according to police chief David O. Brown, who added that officers have “trapped” one of the suspects. They also released a photograph of a “person of interest” wearing camouflage—though journalists later noted that the same person was observed on video walking in the streets during the shooting incident. And police later announced that the man in camouflage had “turned himself in.”
UPDATE 12:37am: Police are saying that one of the two snipers is in custody, a “person of interest” is being interviewed, and a suspicious package has been found and is being secured by the bomb squad. To secure the perimeter of the scene, all types of law enforcement officials from U.S. Marshals to Dallas game wardens have been brought in.
UPDATE 12:56am: Both suspects are now in custody, say the police. “Threat to public is over.”
UPDATE 1:34am: The situation just got more dramatic. Dallas police chief David O. Brown is now saying that the department believes that there were four suspects working together. He added that it “has yet to be determined” whether the suspects were part of the protest rally. Brown said that one suspect is not cooperating and has been exchanging gunfire with officers in a downtown garage for the last 45 minutes. The suspect has been telling officers that “the end is coming” and that there are bombs placed in the garage. The chief added that a female is in custody and that officers followed a Mercedes with two suspects with camouflage bags, who are now in custody. “It is a heartbreaking morning,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. “We must come together and lock arms and heal the wounds that we all feel from time to time. Words matter.”
— Dallas Police Depart (@DallasPD) July 8, 2016
Person of interest in Dallas shootings appears to have been on street during incident. https://t.co/q7rTzHzMMe
— Rudolph Bush (@DallasPolitics) July 8, 2016
The mayhem was captured on Facebook Live by Michael Bautista:
— Robert Wilonsky (@RobertWilonsky) July 8, 2016