DALLAS POLICE AMBUSH
JUL 8 2016, 3:54 AM EDT
Standoff in Dallas After 11 Officers Shot, 5 Killed After Protest
by PHIL HELSEL
Dallas police were locked in a standoff early Friday after snipers shot 11 officers, five fatally, during a protest over recent shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana.
Three people were in custody and a fourth suspect exchanged gunfire with authorities in a parking garage downtown, Dallas Police Chief David Brown said.
The remaining 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 downtown," Brown said.
At least two snipers fired from an elevated positions on police officers minutes before 9 p.m. CT, according to Brown. He described the shootings as "ambush style."
"We believe that these suspects were positioning themselves in a way to triangulate on these officers from two different perches in garages in the downtown area, and planned to injure and kill as many law enforcement officers as they could," he told a news conference — noting that some were shot in the back.
Brown said police don't have a motivation for the attacks or any information on the suspects.
There may be other suspects at large. "We still don't have a complete comfort level that we have all the suspects," Brown said. Police were in contact with the FBI and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Brown said.
"There had to be some speculation from us there would be some knowledge of the [demonstration] route," he said.
Brown said investigators are working under the assumption that all the suspects were working together. They have not been cooperative, he said. "We just are not getting the cooperation we'd like to know that answer of why, the motivation, who they are."
Four of the five slain officers were Dallas police, and the fifth was a Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer. A civilian was also wounded, authorities said.
Around 800 people were at the demonstration, and around 100 police officers were assigned to the event and the surrounding area, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said. The shooting occurred after the demonstration ended and as a march was taking place.
"At 8:58, our worst nightmare happened," Rawlings said. "It is a heartbreaking moment for the city of Dallas, Rawlings said.
A person at the protest said they were "making our second lap" when gunfire erupted.
"We heard shots, we smelled gunpowder, and that's when everything got really intense and surreal," the witness told MSNBC. "We just started to run and grab kids," he said.
The demonstration was in reaction to the police shootings of two black men,Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge Tuesday and Philando Castile Wednesday in a St. Paul suburb.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott directed the state Department of Public Safety to offer any assistance needed. "In times like this we must remember — and emphasize — the importance of uniting as Americans," Abbott said in a statement.
Thursday night, Dallas police distributed a photo of a man they called a "person of interest." The person in that photo turned himself in, police said. It does not appear he was part of the four suspects later mentioned by Brown.
The attacks reverberated around the country, with officials and fellow police departments expressing condolences and newspapers shock.