Dallas was in shock and beset by uncertainty early Friday after gunmen shot and killed five police officers and wounded seven during a peaceful protest over fatal police shootings of black men in other states, police said, in bloodshed evoking the trauma of the nation’s tumultuous civil rights era.Police Chief David Brown blamed “snipers” and said three suspects were in custody while a fourth had exchanged gunfire with authorities in a parking garage downtown and told negotiators he intended to hurt more law enforcement officials.
Early Friday, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said the fourth suspect had died.
“We don’t exactly know the last moments of his death but explosives did blast him out,” Rawlings told The Associated Press.
He said police swept the area where the standoff took place and found no explosives.
Police did not identify any of the suspects or mention a possible motive.
The shooting began about 8:45 p.m. Thursday while hundreds of people were gathered to protest the fatal police shootings in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and suburban St. Paul, Minnesota. Brown told reporters the snipers fired “ambush style” on the officers. A civilian was also wounded, Rawlings said.
Brown said it appeared the shooters “planned to injure and kill as many officers as they could.” 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.
The attacks made Thursday the deadliest day for U.S. law officers since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which tracks on-duty deaths.
It also drew a comparison with the November day in 1963 when a U.S. president was slaughtered by a sniper on a Dallas street only a few blocks away.
“I think the biggest thing that we’ve had something like this is when JFK died,” resident Jalisa Jackson downtown said early Friday as struggled to fathom the still-unsettled situation. Officers crouched beside vehicles, SWAT team armored vehicles arrived and a helicopter hovered overhead.
Protests were held in several other U.S. cities Thursday night after a Minnesota officer on Wednesday fatally shot Philando Castile while he was in a car with a woman and a child, the shooting’s aftermath 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.
Thursday’s shootings occurred in area of hotels, restaurants, businesses and some residential apartments only a few blocks from Dealey Plaza, where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated…
The scene was chaotic, with officers with automatic rifles on the street corners.
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 police don’t have a motivation for the attacks or any information on the suspects. He said they “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.
Authorities have not determined whether any protesters were involved with or were complicit in the attack and were not certain early Friday that all suspects have been located, Brown said…