After a long, devastating night comes mourning in Dallas. Our hearts are heavy for our city and especially for the victims of last night’s crimes. What happened wasn’t simply an attack on law enforcement officers. It was just as much an attack on the #BlackLivesMatter protesters, who marched for peace and justice. It feels like an attack on us all. On a day like today, going about our normal business seems inappropriate, even irrelevant.
5 OFFICERS DEAD, 6 INJURED IN SNIPER AMBUSH. What started as a peaceful protest in remembrance of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile ended with five police officers dead and six others wounded at the hands of two snipers from elevated surfaces. Police exchanged gunfire with a man in the El Centro College garage for more than 45 minutes; he was reported dead around 3 a.m. At this moment, it is unclear how many suspects were involved, but three people are in custody, including a woman who was in the vicinity of the garage at the time of the shooting. Dallas police conducted extensive sweeps of downtown for explosives, after the suspect in the garage claimed that bombs had been placed throughout downtown. Primary and secondary sweeps turned up no explosives, thankfully. The gunfire began around 9 p.m. last night, as the protest was ending. One civilian, who attended the protest with her four sons, was shot in the right calf after she threw herself over her children when the shooting began. Dallas Police Chief David Brown said some of the officers were shot in the back, ambush-style. Witnesses also shared videos of the attack.
UPDATE, 10:25 a.m.: NBC 5 is reporting that the shooter whom police killed with an explosive device on a bomb robot in the El Centro garage was Micah Johnson, 25, of Mesquite. Johnson was reportedly one of four people responsible for the ambush.
UPDATE, 4 p.m.: The Dallas Police Department has just released more information about Micah Johnson:
The deceased suspect has been identified as Micah Johnson, B/M/25. The suspect has no criminal history. Information provided through the course of the investigation, indicates that the suspect was an Army veteran and others have identified him as a loner. The suspect’s Facebook account included the following names and information: Fahed Hassen, Richard GRIFFIN aka Professor Griff, GRIFFIN embraces a radical form of Afrocentrism, and GRIFFIN wrote a book A Warriors Tapestry.
During the search of the suspect’s home, detectives found bomb making materials, ballistic vests, rifles, ammunition, and a personal journal of combat tactics. Detectives are in the process of analyzing the information contained in the journal.
THE VICTIMS. Brent Thompson, 43, was the DART officer killed in Thursday’s attacks. He’d been with the department since 2009 and is the first DART officer killed in the line of duty since the agency formed a police unit in 1989. Three other DART officers were injured in the shooting. The names of the murdered Dallas police officers have not been released.
UPDATE, 12:02 p.m.: The DMN is reporting that Patrick Zamarripa, 32, was one of the Dallas police officers killed in last night’s ambush. Zamarripa, a young father, completed three tours of duty in the Iraq War.
UPDATE, 3:50 p.m.: All of the slain officers have been identified.
THE AFTERMATH. Hours later, a “horrified” President Barack Obama, speaking from Poland where he’s attending the NATO summit, called the ambush “a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement.” This marked his second statement made from Europe about American shootings in less than 12 hours. After the shooting, the Omni Hotel briefly displayed blue lines in its lighting display, representing the officers who were killed.
CLOSURES. As police are still investigating last night’s events, several downtown streets and buildings will be closed Friday. Specifically, the area from Record Street to Griffin Street and Ross Avenue to Commerce Street. El Centro College has canceled classes for the day. Although DART trains will operate through downtown, the West End Station will be closed as well as the CBD West Transfer Center. Buses intended for the CBD West Transfer Center will be redirected to the CBD East Transfer Center. If you work downtown, check here to see if your building will be open today.