UPDATE 7/8 6:36 p.m.: Per the AP, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said in a press conference on Friday that authorities believe Micah Xavier Johnson was the lone shooter. He also implored Americans to stop the “fighting amongst ourselves” and expressed hope that his city could begin healing.
UPDATE 7/8 5:52 p.m.: According to CNN, investigators found bomb-making materials, rifles, ammunition, ballistic vests and a personal journal of combat tactics inside the Mesquite, Texas, home of shooter Micah Xavier Johnson. The contents of his journal are being investigated.
UPDATE 7/8 4:51 p.m.: The last two slain officers were reportedly identified on Friday afternoon. The Dallas Morning News named Senior Corporal Lorne Ahrens, who served the Dallas Police Department for 14 years, as one of the victims who was shot and killed in the massacre. Sergeant Michael Smith was shot and killed as well, the local newspaper reports. Smith was married with two children and volunteered at several places in the community, including the YMCA.
UPDATE 7/8 3:35 p.m.: Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick of Texas is facing major backlash after he called the Dallas protesters “hypocrites” for expecting police to protect them from the bullets raining down on the crowd. “All those protesters last night, they ran the other way expecting the men and women in blue to turn around and protect them,” Patrick told Fox News on Friday. “What hypocrites!”
“And I understand the First Amendment, I understand freedom of speech, and I defend it,” he said. “It is in our Constitution, it is in our soul, but you can’t go out on social media and mainstream media and everywhere else and say that the police are racist, that the police are hateful, the police are killers.” He added that while last night’s protest march was “peaceful,” he blames previous Black Lives Matter protests for the tragic incident.
UPDATE 7/8 3:00 p.m.: The U.S. Army said on Friday that the named suspect in the Dallas massacre, Micah Xavier Johnson, served in the Army Reserve for six years and did a nine month tour of duty in Afghanistan, according to CBS News. He was deployed in November 2013 and returned July 2014. Per CBS, he served in the Army Reserve until 2015, when he joined the Individual Ready Reserve, in which soldiers aren’t required to train but could potentially be called to duty. A source told CBS News that Johnson had an SKS semiautomatic assault rifle and handgun and wore body armor during the shooting.
UPDATE 7/8 2:35 p.m.: Michael Krol has been reportedly identified as one of the five police officers killed in the Dallas tragedy. Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon confirmed that Krol, 40, who previously worked as a sheriff’s deputy in Michigan County, was a victim of the fatal shooting, The Detroit News reports. “We are saddened by the loss of the dedicated officers in Dallas — one of whom was a former member of this agency — and also the wounding of the other officers,” Napoleon said in a statement to The Detroit News. Patrick Zamarripa and Brent Thompson were also among the officers killed. The two other names have yet to be released.
UPDATE 7/8 2:06 p.m: There are conflicting reports about whether the shooter acted alone. A senior law enforcement official told The New York Times that it appears Micah Xavier Johnson was the sole gunman.
However, Dallas Police Chief David Brown made it sound as if there were still multiple suspects when he spoke at a prayer vigil for the victims on Friday. “Through our investigation of some of the suspects, it’s revealed to us that this was a well-planned, well-thought out evil tragedy by these suspects. And we won’t rest until we bring everyone involved to justice,” he said.
Originally, as The New York Times reports, officials believed multiple snipers carried out a coordinated attack, firing rifles from “triangulated positions” from different elevated buildings in the downtown Dallas area.
UPDATE 7/8 1:40 p.m.: The second slain officer has been identified as Patrick Zamarripa, whose family members have taken to social media to pay tribute. The 32-year-old was a father and Iraq War veteran, according to the New York Daily News.
“My son is a police officer in Dallas he was working there the rally in downtown where my son was shot and killed by a sniper along with four other police officers,” Rick Zamarripa wrote on Facebook. “Need prayers to get through this.”
In response to the Dallas massacre, police officers in New York, Boston, Chicago and other major cities have been directed to patrol in pairs, according to The New York Times. “In light of the tragedy in Dallas, in the best interests of officer safety, all #BPD patrols will be conducted by two-officer units,” the Boston Police Department wrote on Twitter Friday.
According to TMZ, Micah Xavier Johnson’s Facebook page revealed that he “liked” several pro-black and Black Panther organizations. TMZ claims he also subscribed to Facebook groups such as “Filming Cops” and “Police the Police,” which calls itself a platform for documenting police brutality, and “The Black Matrix,” which, according to TMZ, aims to bring down the system of “white societal elites” who “control the perceptions of its Black populations.” CNN reported that Johnson specialized in carpentry and masonry in the Army Reserve and was a junior enlisted soldier at the time of his death.
UPDATE: 7/8 12:58 p.m.: Several U.S. officials have offered remarks on the Dallas tragedy. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch addressed the nation about the attack on Friday. “The answer must not be violence. The answer is never violence. Rather, the answer, all our answers, must be action. Calm, peaceful and collaborative action,” she said during a press conference. “As Americans, we share not just a common land, but a common life. Not just common goals but a common heart and soul.”
“Do not let this week precipitate a new normal in this country,” Lynch continued. “Let us support one another.”
President Barack Obama previously spoke to reporters from Warsaw, Poland, on Friday morning about the massacre. “We will learn more, undoubtedly, about their twisted motivations, but let’s be clear: There is no possible justification for these types of attacks,” he said. “Anyone involved in these senseless murders will be held fully accountable. Justice will be done.”
The Human Rights Campaign issued a statement from its president, Chad Griffin, on behalf of the LGBT community: “Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of those who were senselessly murdered protecting a peaceful protest, and to the Dallas Police Department, the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Department, and the broader community they nobly served. There is no justification for this cold-blooded assault on law enforcement officers who go to work each day to protect the public. In the aftermath of Orlando, the LGBTQ community saw police officers across the nation work even harder to protect our safe spaces, and we know how dangerous their jobs can be.”
A neighbor told CNN that police cars have arrived outside of Johnson’s home. The neighbor, Wayne Bynoe, told the outlet that Johnson lived with his mother and “keeps to himself.”
UPDATE 7/8 11:12 a.m.: The suspect who was killed by a police bomb was reportedly identified as Micah Xavier Johnson, two U.S. law enforcement officials told the Los Angeles Times. The 25-year-old Dallas-area resident has no known criminal history or ties to terror groups, the L.A. Times reports. He is said to have relatives in Mesquite, Texas, an eastern suburb of Dallas.
Original story below
Five Dallas police officers were killed, and seven officers plus two civilians were wounded at a peaceful protest against police brutality in downtown Dallas on Thursday, July 7, the Dallas mayor’s office confirmed to CNN. Snipers fired down on the crowd from “elevated positions,” and after a long standoff, one suspect was killed at an El Centro community college garage by a bomb detonated by police. The attack is the deadliest incident for law enforcement since September 11, 2001.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown gave a press conference Friday, July 8, and said the unnamed suspect wanted to kill white people — especially white police officers. The sniper was “upset about Black Lives Matter” and he “was upset about the recent police shootings” of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.
“We’re hurting. Our profession is hurting. Dallas officers are hurting,” Brown said. “We are heartbroken. There are no words to describe the atrocity that occurred to our city. All I know is that this must stop — this divisiveness between our police and our citizens.”
Brown explained why authorities chose to use a bomb to kill the suspect after several hours of negotiation were unsuccessful. “We saw no other option but to use our bomb robot and place a device on its extension for it to detonate where the suspect was. Other options would have exposed our officers to grave danger,” he said. He said that the department’s hostage negotiator did “an exceptional job” of getting the suspect to talk before he died.
“[They are] some of the bravest men and women you’d ever want to be associated with,” Brown said. “We don’t feel much support most days. Let’s not make today most days. Please, we need your support to be able to protect you from men like these who carried out this tragic, tragic event. “
Authorities will not expand further on any potential suspects until they can gather more information — but Brown previously said that four people armed with rifles are believed to have carried out the attack and positioned themselves near the end of the protest route. The three other suspects are a woman who was taken from the garage and two others who were taken in after a traffic stop. The suspects are not cooperating with investigators, he said.
The names of the victims have not all been released, but four of the dead were Dallas Police Department officers and one was from the Dallas Area Rapid Transit force. The DART agency tweeted that it is grieving over Officer Brent Thompson, who joined the agency in 2009. CNN reports that within the last two weeks Thompson, 43, had just gotten married to another officer. He was the first DART officer to ever be killed in the line of duty.
DART grieving the loss of Ofc Brent Thompson, 43, killed during Thurs protest. First DART officer killed in line of duty. Joined DART 2009.
— dartmedia (@dartmedia) July 8, 2016
Teshorn Jackson and his wife, Reytheda Jackson, attended the protest on Thursday and described the “pandemonium” as shots rang out. “I experienced a lot of fear, a lot of terror, a lot of frustration, a lot of anger,” Teshorn told the Today show on Friday. “It was just a very emotional night.”
“I heard the first shot, but I didn’t realize it was a shot,” Reytheda said. “In the crowd there was screaming and pandemonium. My first thought was I need to get to my car and I need to get out of here.”
Updates to come.