US Dallas sniper in Texas wanted to kill white police over black deaths

July 9, 2016 1:00 am

police officers escort
residents near the scene where five police officers were killed on July
7, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. (AFP photo)

The gunman in Dallas,
Texas, who killed five police officers and wounded seven more in a
coordinated attack that ended with the shooter’s death, said he wanted
to kill white officers over the fatal shooting of black people.

The
attack, the deadliest day for police in the US since the September 11,
2001, terror attacks, came during one of several protests across the
country against the killing of two black men by police this week.
The
deaths of the two black men at the hands of police in the states of
Louisiana and Minnesota were the latest in a long string of killings
that gave rise to the Black Lives Matter social movement.
On
Thursday, protesters in Chicago, New York, Dallas, Los Angeles,
Washington, DC, and other cities took to the streets to slam the
killings.
Authorities said Friday that Thursday night’s ambush on
police was carefully planned and executed and said they had arrested
three suspects before killing the fourth after a long standoff.
“We
had an exchange of gunfire with the suspect. We saw no other option but
to use our bomb robot,” Dallas Police Chief David Brown told reporters
at the Dallas City Hall.
“The suspect said he was upset about
Black Lives Matter,” said Brown, who is African American. “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.”
The suspect also told police “the end is coming” and that more police were going to be hurt and killed.
The
deadly attack comes as two black men were killed this week by police
officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and outside Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The
shootings, which police say were carried out by two snipers from
elevated positions, occurred at around 9 p.m. Thursday as a protest
rally was drawing to an end.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said a
total of 12 police officers and two civilians were shot during the
attack. The mayor said three of the officers who were shot were women.
US President Barack Obama, who was in Poland for a NATO summit, called the attack “vicious, calculated and despicable.”
The
wounded police were taken to Parkland hospital, the same hospital where
former President John F. Kennedy was taken after he was assassinated in
Dallas in November 1963.
Police in killed over
1,150 people in 2015, with the largest police departments
disproportionately killing at least 321 African Americans, according to
data compiled by an activist group that runs the Mapping Police Violence
project.

A day after five officers were shot to death at a protest march,
Dallas authorities said that a man suspected in the slayings had been
upset about police shootings of two black men earlier this week and
wanted to kill whites, “especially white officers.”
The man was
chased into a parking garage, where he exchanged fire with officers, who
later killed him with a robot-delivered bomb, Police Chief David Brown
said. But before his death, he described his motive during negotiations,
according to the chief.
The confrontation followed the deadliest day for US law enforcement since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Brown blamed “snipers” for Thursday’s attack, but it was
unclear how many shooters were involved. Authorities initially said
three suspects were in custody and the fourth dead. Hours later,
officials were vague and would not discuss details.
Before dying,
the police chief said, the suspect also stated that he acted alone and
was not affiliated with any groups, Brown said.

Investigators leave the home of Micah Xavier Johnson in the Dallas suburb of Mesquite, Texas. Photo / AP
Law enforcement officials did not immediately disclose the race of the suspect or the dead officers.
The bloodshed unfolded just a few blocks from where President John F. Kennedy was slain in 1963.
The
shooting began about 8.45 pm Thursday while hundreds of people were
gathered to protest the killings in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and suburban
St Paul, Minnesota. Brown told reporters that snipers fired
“ambush-style” on the officers. Two civilians also were wounded.
Authorities said they were not sure they had located
all possible suspects, but attention on Friday quickly turned to the man
killed in the parking garage.
A Texas law enforcement official identified him as Micah Johnson, 25.
The
official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he said he was not
authorised to release the information. There were no immediate details
on the suspect’s middle name or hometown.

Five red roses are seen on the bronze medallion at The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington. Photo / AP
By midday, investigators were seen walking in and out of a home believed to be Johnson’s in the Dallas suburb of Mesquite.
The
Army said Johnson served in the Army Reserve from March 2009 to April
2015 and did one tour in Afghanistan. He was a private first class with a
specialty in carpentry and masonry. His Afghanistan deployment spanned
from November 2013 to July 2014.
None of the other suspects was identified, and the
police chief said he would not disclose any details about them until
authorities were sure everyone involved was in custody.
The
nation’s top law enforcement official, Attorney General Loretta Lynch,
called for calm, saying the recent violence can’t be allowed to
“precipitate a new normal”.
Lynch said protesters concerned about
killings by police should not be discouraged “by those who use your
lawful actions as a cover for their heinous violence.”

An investigator walks the scene of a shooting in downtown Dallas. Photo / AP
It appeared the shooters “planned to injure and kill as many officers as they could”, Brown said.
Video
from the scene showed protesters marching along a downtown street about
half a mile from City Hall when shots erupted and the crowd scattered,
seeking cover. Officers crouched beside vehicles, armored SWAT team
vehicles arrived and a helicopter hovered overhead.
Demonstrations
were held in several other US cities Thursday night to protest the
police killings of two more black men: A Minnesota officer on Wednesday
fatally shot Philando Castile while he was in a car with a woman and a
child, and the shooting’s aftermath was 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.

A Dallas police officer, who did not
want to be identified, takes a moment as she guards an intersection in
the early morning after a shooting in downtown Dallas. Photo / AP
The Dallas shootings occurred in an area of hotels,
restaurants, businesses and some residential apartments only a few
blocks from Dealey Plaza, the landmark made famous by the Kennedy
assassination.
The scene was chaotic, with officers with automatic rifles on the street corners.
“Everyone
just started running,” Devante Odom, 21, told The Dallas Morning News.
“We lost touch with two of our friends just trying to get out of there.”

Police check a car during the Dallas shooting. Photo / AP
Carlos Harris, who lives downtown, told the newspaper
that the shooters “were strategic. It was tap, tap, pause. Tap, tap,
pause,” he said.
Brown said the suspects “triangulated” in the
downtown area where the protesters were marching and had “some knowledge
of the route” they would take.
Video posted on social media
appeared to show a gunman at ground level exchanging fire with a police
officer who was then felled.
Mayor Mike Rawlings said one of
wounded officers had a bullet go through his leg as three members of his
squad were fatally shot around him.
“He felt that people don’t
understand the danger of dealing with a protest,” said Rawlings, who
spoke to the surviving officer. “And that’s what I learned from this. We
care so much about people protesting, and I think it’s their rights.
But how we handle it can do a lot of things. One of the things it can do
is put our police officers in harm’s way, and we have to be very
careful about doing that.”
Few details about the slain officers were immediately available.
Four
of the dead were with the Dallas Police Department, a spokesman said.
One was a Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer. The agency said in a
statement that 43-year-old officer Brent Thompson, a newlywed whose
bride also works for the police force, was the first officer killed in
the line of duty since the agency formed a police department in 1989.
“Our hearts are broken,” the statement said.
Theresa
Williams said one of the wounded civilians was her sister, 37-year-old
Shetamia Taylor, who was shot in the right calf. She threw herself over
her four sons, ages 12 to 17, when the shooting began.
Other
protests across the US on Thursday were peaceful, including in New York,
Atlanta, Chicago and Philadelphia. In Minnesota, where Castile was
shot, hundreds of protesters marched in the rain from a vigil to the
governor’s official residence.
President Barack Obama said
America is “horrified” by the shootings, which have no possible
justification. He called them “vicious, calculated and despicable.”
Speaking
from Warsaw, Poland, where he was meeting with leaders of the European
Union and attending a NATO summit, the president asked all Americans to
pray for the fallen officers and their families.

Condemnation for slayings

Supporters
of the Black Lives Matter movement condemned the slayings of police in
Dallas but stressed that the shootings should not lessen concerns over
the killings of black men and women by officers across the country.
“My
heart goes out to the victims of all violence, when we think about what
has happened over the past 48 hours,” activist DeRay McKesson said
during an appearance on C-SPAN.
Authorities say snipers killed
five Dallas officers and injured seven others during a protest over
fatal police shootings of black men this week in Louisiana and
Minnesota.
The Black Lives Matter group called the Dallas attack “the result of the actions of a lone gunman”.
“To
assign the actions of one person to an entire movement is dangerous and
irresponsible. We continue our efforts to bring about a better world
for all of us,” the group said in a statement.
Police officials
have identified one suspect, whom they killed but say they’re unsure how
many people participated in the attack.
The shooting in Dallas
came as protesters gathered in reaction to the deaths of Alton Sterling
in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile in a suburb of St. Paul,
Minnesota.
Castile was shot Wednesday while in a car with a
woman and a child. The aftermath of the shooting was livestreamed in a
Facebook video that has been widely shared on social media and broadcast
on TV newscasts. 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.
The Black Lives Matter movement
traces its roots to the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in
Florida in 2012 and gained national ground after 18-year-old Michael
Brown was fatally shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri,
in 2014.
Since then, deaths of other unarmed black males at the
hands of law enforcement officers have inspired protests under the Black
Lives Matter moniker.
“The movement is bigger than any one person or organisation,” McKesson said.
“There are so many incredible activists and organisers pushing to make the world more equitable and just.”
The
Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network appeared to strike a
critical tone of the movement in a Friday morning media statement that
said Sharpton “reaffirms his commitment that the movement must continue
but that it must be anti-police misconduct, not anti-police.”
The group rejected the notion that Black Lives Matter is against police.
“This
is a tragedy – both for those who have been impacted by yesterday’s
attack and for our democracy,” the group said in a statement.
“There
are some who would use these events to stifle a movement for change and
quicken the demise of a vibrant discourse on the human rights of Black
Americans. We should reject all of this.”
The statement echoes
comments from supporters who took to Twitter in the overnight hours to
defend the movement.”#BlackLivesMatter advocates dignity, justice and
freedom, not the murder of cops,” wrote Malkia A. Cyril, director of the
Center for Media Justice.
“Anyone blaming this Dallas shooting
on the #BlackLivesMatter movement is sick,” tweeted New York Daily News
columnist Shaun King.
“Those protestors were peaceful. This terrorised them too.”

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