This article contains graphic video that might be triggering for some people.
With thousands of people protesting across the country in the wake of the police shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, the scene in Dallas turned frightening Thursday night when multiple shots rang out, causing people to flee and officers to take cover.
Eleven law enforcement officers were shot during an attack carried out by at least two gunman, whom police called “snipers” due to their elevated firing positions during the protest. According to police officials, five officers were killed during the assault. Other wounded officers were undergoing medical treatment at hospitals nearby.
One civilian was also wounded, police said. At least four of the officers shot work for the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), according to the public transit authority, which serves Dallas and 11 surrounding cities. DART officers carry firearms and have the same authority, obligations and duties as other Dallas police officers.
Brent Thompson, 43, was identified by DART officials as one of the officers killed. At 2:30am CT, nearly six hours after the shooting began, a standoff between police and at least one of the suspects ended. A suspect reportedly told police that bombs had planted “all over” Dallas, vowing: “The end is coming.” According to initial reports, the suspect took his own life.
Police Chief David Brown told reporters after midnight that authorities believe the suspects had coordinated to kill police officers.
“We still do not have a complete comfort level that we have all the suspects,” Brown said. The police chief vowed to continue the search for any potentially remaining suspects. “At this point, we don’t have a lot of cooperation” from suspects, Brown said. “We are leaving every motive on the table.”
At roughly 11:15pm CT, a police SWAT team was filmed entering a parking garage on the corner of Wood and Griffin St., just south of the Earle Cabell Federal Building, which houses the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas and a U.S. attorney’s office. The DPD bomb squad was also reportedly dispatched to investigate a suspicious package nearby.
“We believe that these suspects were positioning themselves to triangulate on these officers from two different perches in the downtown area and planned to injure or kill as many law enforcement officers as they could,” Brown said during a press conference on Thursday night. “We also believe these suspects have threatened to plan a bomb in the downtown area.”
Brown added that federal law enforcement authorities have been called on to help search the downtown area for any potential explosives. Dallas police identified one man as a suspected shooter. However, video published by the Dallas Morning News nearly two hours before the DPD tweeted its photo shows what appears to be the same man among the frantic crowd of protesters.
“Dallas other deadliest moment in history”
The attack marks the deadliest day for law enforcement in the United States since since Sept. 11, 2001.
In June 2015, Dallas Police headquarters was attacked by a man in an armored van. The gunman, apparently angered over a child custody dispute, fired a semi-automatic weapon into the police department building from multiple angles during the rampage-style attack. He was later killed by a police sniper.
Because the assailant claimed to have planted pipe bombs in the area, his van was detonated by police in a controlled-explosion while the suspect’s body remained inside. No bombs were ever found. Though hundreds of rounds were exchanged, no police officers were wounded during the assault.