Five police officers were killed and six others wounded by snipers in chaotic scenes in Dallas during a protest against police shootings of black men, with a suspect warning that bombs were planted throughout the city center.
City Police Chief David Brown said two snipers shot at “police officers from elevated positions during the protest/rally.” A civilian was also wounded. Police were continuing to exchange gunfire with a suspect holed up in a downtown garage hours after the shooting started.
The suspect “has told our negotiators that the end is coming, and he is going to hurt and kill more of us, meaning law enforcement. And that there are bombs all over the place in this garage and in downtown,” Brown told reporters
A woman who had been in the same part of the garage was also in custody, along with two suspects who had camouflage bags in a Mercedes and a person of interest who turned himself in after police tweeted a picture of him wearing camouflage and an assault rifle slung across his shoulder.
It is legal for those with permits to openly carry weapons in the state of Texas.
“We still don’t have a complete comfort level that we have all the suspects,” Brown warned.
Several hundred people attended the Dallas rally, which ended just before the shots rang out around 9:00 pm (0200 GMT Friday). The protest was one of several nationwide over the fatal police shootings of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana this week that have prompted US President Barack Obama to make an emotional appeal for urgent police reform.
Mayor Mike Rawlings said both the White House and Texas Governor Greg Abbott had offered to help. Rawlings spoke of a “heartbreaking morning” for the city.
“We as a city, we as a country, must come together, lock arms and heal the wounds that we all feel from time to time. Words matter. Leadership matters at this time,” he said.
Brown initially said two of the officers were undergoing surgery and three were in critical condition. The condition of the other officers was unclear.