Five police officers were killed and several others injured in a sniper attack in downtown Dallas during a Black Lives Matter protest on Thursday (July 7). This is what we know so far:
- 12 officers were shot by a sniper, who took up “elevated positions” along the protest route. Two civilians were also wounded in the attack, which began around 9pm local time. At least 12 officers returned fire, Dallas police said.
- Authorities have concluded that the attack was carried out by a single gunman who fired from different locations. They have identified the suspect as Micah Johnson, 25. He was a former US Army veteran described by those who knew him as a loner.
- Johnson was killed following a standoff with police at a parking garage near the scene.
- Detectives who searched his home found a collection of bomb-making materials, ballistic vests, rifles, ammunition, and a personal journal of combat tactics.
- Johnson told police that bombs were “all over the place,” but successive sweeps of the area have so far come up empty, according to police. A roughly 25-block area of downtown Dallas was closed this morning. Police said parts of the crime scene will remain closed until Wednesday.
- Police had initially believed there had been more shooters because several people in the march were wearing protective gear and carrying rifles, which is legal in Texas.
- One of the victims was named as 43-year-old Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer (DART) officer Brent Thompson. Family members on social media identified Dallas police offer Patrick Zamarripa as another victim.
The attacks marked the deadliest day for US law enforcement since 9/11. The shooting took place just blocks away from the site where Lee Harvey Oswald shot US president John F. Kennedy in 1963.
At a press conference Friday morning (July 8), Dallas police chief David Brown offered these details about Johnson:
“There suspect said he was upset about Black Lives Matter. He said he was upset about the recent police shootings. The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.”
The shootings were a “vicious, calculated, and despicable attack on law enforcement,” said president Barack Obama. “We will learn more about their twisted motivations, but let’s be clear: There is no possible justification for these kinds of attacks or any violence against law enforcement.”