At least one sniper killed five Dallas police officers and wounded another seven in a racially charged attack that ended when police used a robot carrying a bomb to kill him, the city’s shaken police chief said on Friday.
The incident began on Thursday evening at the end of a protest over this week’s killing of two black men by local police in the United States.
The shooting sent protesters running in panic while swarms of police found themselves under attack by what they believed to be multiple gunmen using high-powered rifles at ground level and on rooftops.
During lengthy negotiations with police, the gunman said he had wanted to kill white people and white police officers and was angry about the recent shootings. He cited the “Black Lives Matter” anti-police-violence movement, but also said he was not part of a larger organization, said Dallas Police Chief David Brown.
“We had an exchange of gunfire with the suspect. We saw no other option but to use our bomb robot,” Brown told reporters at City Hall.
This week’s killings of black men by police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and outside Minneapolis were the latest in a long string of similar, controversial killings that have led to almost two years of national protests over race and justice. The latest deaths are both being investigated by federal authorities.
“The suspect said he was upset about Black Lives Matter,” said Brown, who is black. “He said he was upset about the recent police shootings. The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated that he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.”
U.S. media identified the suspect as Micah X. Johnson, a 25-year-old resident of the Dallas area, citing unnamed law enforcement sources.
Quinyetta McMillon, who had a child with Alton Sterling, the black man slain by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, earlier this week, condemned the Dallas attack in a statement.
“We wholeheartedly reject the reprehensible acts of violence that were perpetrated against members of the Dallas Police Department,” McMillon said. “Regardless of how angry or upset people may be, resorting to this kind of sickening violence should never happen and simply cannot be tolerated.”
Micah X. Johnson
A Twitter account describing itself as representing the Black Lives Matter movement sent the message: “Black Lives Matter advocates dignity, justice and freedom. Not murder.”
With Thursday’s attack, 26 police officers have been shot and killed in the United States so far this year, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. That is up 44 percent from the 18 officers slain in the same period in 2015, the group said.
Some of the largest police forces in the United States were on high alert on Friday, following the attacks in Dallas, with departments in New York and Boston ordering officers to patrol in pairs.