Dallas police are in mourning today as the sniper attack that killed five officers and one civilian sinks in. Seven other officers were injured.
The gunfire broke out around 8:45 p.m. Thursday in the heart of Dallas where hundreds of people had gathered to protest fatal police shootings this week in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and suburban St. Paul, Minnesota.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown told reporters the snipers fired “ambush style” upon the officers. Mayor Mike Rawlings said one member of the public was wounded in the gunfire.
One suspect was killed by a robot with a bomb that police sent into a parking garage. Brown said officers negotiated with the suspect and he “seemed lucid during this negotiation,” but he expressed a wish to kill white people, especially white officers.
“He expressed anger for the Black Lives Matter movement,” Brown said.
Three other suspects are in custody.
Brown said the police force had enough officers at the protest, but they were ambushed by snipers.
“If anyone else is involved in this… We will find you and we will prosecute you and we will bring you to justice,” Brown said.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said the city has had the fewest police officer related shootings in any large city in America.
“We are working hard to improve, and there’s always room for improvement,” he told reporters via live stream.
“I think it’s important for citizens to realize we want everyone to get their freedom of speech,” Rawlings said. “But the chief makes decisions at times that people could be critical of. If we’re all being critical of those things, just think about today, this is what we’re risking if we don’t do it right. These were peaceful protests until this happened.”
President Obama condemned the attacks in a statement from Poland, where he had traveled tor a NATO summit.
“There has been a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement,” he said.
“I believe that I speak for every single American when I say that we are horrified over these events, and that we stand united with the people and the police department in Dallas,” Obama said. “Today our focus is on the victims and their families. They are heartbroken. The entire city of Dallas is grieving. Police across America, which is a tight-knit family, feels this loss to their core.”
Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump suspended their campaign rallies on Friday, in lieu of the shootings.
Trump released a statement saying racial tensions have gotten worse in America and the nation is too divided.
“It is a coordinated, premeditated assault on the men and women who keep us safe,” Trump said in a statement. “We must restore law and order.”
Clinton cancelled a campaign outing in Pennsylvania with Vice President Joe Biden and tweeted her condolences.
“I mourn for the officers shot while doing their sacred duty to protect peaceful protesters, for their families, and all who serve with them,” Clinton said.
Of the five officers who died, the first to be named is Brent Thompson, who worked at the Dallas Area Rapid Transit.
Thompson, 43, was married two weeks ago to a fellow officer. In Iraq, Thompson was responsible for the “day to day operations conducted by our American police officers who trained and mentored the Iraqi Police,” according to his LinkedIn page.
“I am motivated by a ‘Team’ atmosphere. I enjoy working on challenging tasks and problem solving with my peers. I am constantly looking for different ways to serve the department, this helps to keep my work from becoming sedentary and boring,” Thompson wrote on his page.