Updated at 3:00 p.m. ET
Automatic gunfire from an armored van shattered the glass frontage at Dallas Police headquarters before the van sped away, leading police on a chase and standoff with the driver, who was killed by a SWAT unit sniper.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown said the suspect had told negotiators that the van was “rigged with explosives” so authorities were being cautious in approaching it. A fire later erupted as authorities tried to clear the vehicle of pipe bombs.
Brown said a SWAT sniper first shot out the engine block of the suspect’s vehicle and later hit the gunman through the van’s front windshield.
“Since that time, we have sent the bomb robot in … to confirm whether he’s dead,” he told reporters at a news conference. Police later confirmed that the suspect was dead.
Brown said it was “a blessing” that no officers were killed or wounded. He said there were bullet holes in police cars and at headquarters near where officers had been sitting.
Earlier, at police headquarters, a bag exploded when it was picked up by a bomb robot, he said.
Brown said witnesses had initially reported seeing multiple assailants, but now officials believe a single suspect, the van’s driver, “shot from different parts in front of the headquarters.”
The attack began about 12:30 a.m. local time today.
In a separate news conference, Brown said the police said officers and the van’s driver exchanged gunfire before the van sped off and squad cars chased it to a parking lot in the nearby suburb of Hutchins, where gunfire was again exchanged.
He said the suspect, a white male, identified himself as James Boulware, but cautioned “that could just be a name.” As The Dallas Morning Herald reports “in 2013, police in Paris, Texas, said they arrested James Lance Boulware after he obtained firearms, ammunition and body armor before threatening to attack his family, as well as churches and schools.”
The suspect spoke by cell phone as he was surrounded by a SWAT unit, telling negotiators “that we took his child, accused him of being a terrorist and that he was going to blow us up,” Brown said.
Brown said police also found four bags scattered around police headquarters, including one that contained a pipe bomb. He said nearby residents were evacuated as a precaution.
“A video of the incident on social media showed a police officer approaching a black van with a flashlight as two other police cruisers pulled up behind the vehicle. The officer then abruptly turned and ran away and then a volley of gunshots could be heard.
“In another video, the van could be seen ramming a police cruiser before gunfire rang out and the vehicle drove off.”