Four Dallas law enforcement officers were shot and killed, and seven others and one civilian wounded by two snipers at the end of a rally in downtown Dallas, where hundreds were protesting police shootings in other parts of the country earlier this week. The Dallas Police Department reported late Thursday that one suspect had been apprehended, and that a suspicious package is being secured by the city’s bomb squad.
A person of interest whose photo was distributed by police has turned himself in, the department said.
Brown said law enforcement appeared to have been intentionally targeted by the shooters, who were trying to triangulate their fire on officers. Some officers were shot in the back, Brown said.
“It is a heartbreaking moment for the city of Dallas,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said. “I ask everybody focus on one thing right now and that is Dallas police officers, their families, those that are deceased, those that are in the hospital fighting for their lives.”
Brown and witnesses described a chaotic and terrifying scene on Main Street in downtown Dallas, where police searched for additional suspects. As a precaution, the campus of El Centro College in downtown was placed on lockdown.
The shooting occurred just before 9 p.m. local time, during a march in downtown Dallas protesting the shootings earlier this week of two African-American men by white police officers in Baton Rouge, La., and suburban St. Paul, Minn. There were similar protests taking place all over the country. Participants describe a peaceful protest for nearly an hour, until gunfire broke out.
Javier Giribet-Vargas, an intern with Dallas member station KERA, was covering the protests when the shootings happened.
“‘I don’t know what happened, but by the Bank of America building, there was a shooting; I ran, I dropped my phone.’
“Dozens of Dallas police cars arrived immediately. Officers were out in force, wearing helmets, shields and holding assault weapons.
” ‘I was taking cover and I could hear on the police radio that there was an injured person who was shot in the chest and that the suspects could have been in a black SUV,’ Giribet-Vargas says. ‘The police were saying through the radio that the shots might have come from the parking garage of one of the buildings.’ “
“I ask everybody to focus on one thing right now, and it’s Dallas police officers, families, those decreased, those in the hospital fighting for their lives,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said at the news conference. “Let’s all come together to support our police officers.”
The earliest reports of the shootout came via witnesses who had been documenting the protest march on social media. (Editor’s note: The following video includes language some may find objectionable.)
This is a rapidly developing story; we’ll provide updates as they become available, including corrections should any of the above information prove to be incorrect.