By Global News Staff/Associated Press
The chief of Dallas police said Friday morning that one of the suspects accused of killing five police officers Thursday told negotiators he wanted to “kill white people, especially white officers.”
A large portion of downtown Dallas remains in lockdown after the ‘ambush-style’ attack during a peaceful protest Thursday night. Seven other officers were wounded.
The gunfire broke out around 8:45 p.m. while hundreds of people were gathered to protest fatal police shootings this week in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and St. Paul, Minnesota.
Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown told reporters that “snipers” fired “ambush style” on the officers.
“We’re hurting. Our profession is hurting. Dallas officers are hurting. We are heartbroken. There are no words to describe the atrocity that occurred to our city,” Brown said Friday.
Mayor Mike Rawlings said two members of the public were wounded in the gunfire.
Police said that at least four suspects were involved in the shooting, three of whom are in custody.
The other suspect was holed up at a parking garage in El Centro College and was exchanging gunfire with police. A Dallas city official confirmed the standoff ended around 3:30 a.m. local time.
NBC affiliate KXAS reports the suspect was ‘neutralized’ after threatening the “end is coming” for police officers.
Early Friday, Rawlings told reporters the suspect died after police used explosives to ‘blast him out.’ The mayor said he was unsure of what weapons were found at the scene.
“The suspect said he was upset with Black Lives Matter. He said he was upset with the recent police shootings,” Brown said, describing the conversation between the suspect and negotiators.
“The suspect stated we will eventually find the IEDs,” Brown said.
Earlier, there were reports of explosives set in the area where the standoff took place. However, police swept the area and no explosives were found.
The police chief said the suspect said he wasn’t affiliated with any groups and acted alone.
After several hours of negotiations, the chief said officers engaged in an exchange of gunfire with the suspect and eventually were forced to use a bomb disposal robot to detonate an explosive where the suspect was.
“Other options would have exposed our officers to grave danger,” Brown said.
The central business district in downtown Dallas remains closed to pedestrians and traffic. The City of Dallas released a map of the off-limit areas.
US President Barack Obama said he was “horrified” at the Dallas attack and those responsible would be held “fully accountable.”
“We still don’t know all the facts but we know that there has been a vicious, despicable and calculated attack on law enforcement,” Obama said following a meeting with European officials at a NATO summit in Poland on Friday.
“We are horrified over these events and we stand unified with the people and the police department in Dallas.”
Early Friday morning, there were dozens of officers in the corridor of the ER at Baylor Medical Center, where other injured officers were taken. The mayor and police chief were seen arriving there.
Brown said that it appeared the shooters “planned to injure and kill as many officers as they could.”
The search for the shooters stretched throughout downtown, an area of hotels, restaurants, businesses and some residential apartments.
The area is only a few blocks away from Dealey Plaza, where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. Some of the injured officers were taken to Parkland Hospital.
The fatal police shootings occurred in a week when two black men were killed by officers in a span of 24 hours.
On Wednesday, a Minnesota officer fatally shot Philando Castile while he was in a car with a woman and a child in a St. Paul suburb. The aftermath of the shooting was purportedly livestreamed in a widely shared Facebook video.
A day earlier, Alton Sterling was shot in Louisiana after being pinned to the pavement by two white officers. That, too, was captured on a cellphone video.