Dallas Police: Snipers Shoot 12 Officers & 2 Civilians, 5 Dead

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Officers huddle behind squad cars after a shooting at police protest in downtown Dallas, Thursday, July 7, 2016. KTVT Dallas

DALLAS (CBSDFW/1080 KRLD) – A peaceful protest against nationwide officer-involved shootings took a sinister turn at about 9 p.m. Thursday night after snipers shot 12 police officers, killing five, according to Dallas Police Chief Brown.

Two civilians were also wounded in the attack.

“Some officers were shot in the back,” said Brown, who added during a press conference that they were attacked “ambush-style.”

One suspect died of a self-inflicted gun shot wound at about 2:50am after an hours-long stand-off with police.

According to Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings three suspects are in custody, two men and one woman. Their names have not been released pending the ongoing investigation.

At about 3:30am Maj. Max Geron of the Dallas PD tweeted, “There are extensive sweeps of downtown for explosives underway. This will take quite a while.”

Early Friday morning Chief Brown sent the following statement via email before the fourth officer died.

Tonight it appears that two snipers shot ten police officers from elevated positions during the protest/rally. Three officers are deceased, two are in surgery and three are in critical condition. An intensive search for suspects is currently underway. No suspects are in custody at this time. We ask that any citizen with information regarding the shootings tonight call 214-671-3482.

Brent Thompson (courtesy: LinkedIn)

Brent Thompson (courtesy: LinkedIn)

DART police officer Brent Thompson, 43, was identified as one of the victims fatally shot by snipers during Thursday night’s protest in Downtown Dallas. Officer Thompson is the first officer killed in the line of duty since DART formed a police department in 1989. He joined the DART Police Department in 2009.

Police released more information about what happened during and after the stand-off that ended with a suspect taking his own life.

Sources said the suspect was inside of El Centro college on the second floor during the standoff. The focus was originally on the parking garage across the street but – at some point – moved to the college.

After setting off a “flash bang” device, SWAT moved in and found the suspect dead with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Sources also said police had reason to believe the suspect may have left explosives in the area but none were found.  The ATF brought in bomb sniffing dogs to clear the college and the parking garage.

When the shooting began, witnesses told CBS11 they heard multiple gunshots fire off and saw protesters start running, fearful for their lives.

“They were shooting down at police. I saw officers get hit,” said protester Jamal Johnson.

Dallas rally organizer Cory Hughes  recounted the moment he heard at least “30 gun shots” go off. “Whoever was shooting had an assault rifle — and I know guns. The shots were in rapid succession,” he said.

Yet another witness recounted how police officers yelled at her to get down.

Clarissa Myles was eating at McDonald when the chaos began. “Everyone was screaming, people were running… I saw at least probably 30 shots go off,” she said. 

Myles also said she saw two men who were “super upset” with police right before shots rang out. She was shocked that the peaceful protest could take such a sinister turn so quickly.

“Are they really shooting?  This was a peaceful protest,” said Myles in disbelief.

Police searched for suspects with rifles in a parking garage at Griffin and Lamar in downtown Dallas immediately after the shooting. Shortly after guns shots rang out, DART rail and bus service in downtown were suspended.

Just minutes from downtown proper, a witness standing outside of Baylor Hospital in Dallas saw one of the wounded officers arrive at the ER in the 10 o’clock hour. “We were about two blocks away when we saw a cop car with a bullet hole in the door riding on its rims past us,” he said.

Misty McBride is recovering at Baylor Hospital in Dallas from gun shot wounds.

Misty McBride is recovering at Baylor Hospital in Dallas from gun shot wounds.

DART officer Misty McBride was one of the 11 officers shot taken to Baylor. She suffered two gun shot wounds, one in the arm, another in her abdomen, according to McBride’s father, Richard McBride. Misty McBride has worked with DART for about five years.

Police named Mark Hughes, (Cory Hughs’ brother) as a person of interest at 11:30 p.m. He later turned himself in and was released Friday morning.

Another alleged suspect was in a shootout with SWAT officers before he was taken into custody late Thursday night around midnight. SWAT found a suspicious package near him and the DPD bomb squad secured it. Police also arrested a woman who they said was in the vicinity of El Centro garage, where Brown said one suspect was still cornered on the second floor as of 2 a.m. Friday morning.

Police are still negotiating with him. He told Brown “the end is coming” and he will “hurt and kill more of us [read: police] and that “there are more bombs in the garage and downtown.”

Further more, Brown said he wasn’t “comfortable” saying that there weren’t “more suspects” responsible… and that as many as four snipers may be responsible.

“It’s a heartbreaking morning to lose these four officers. Officers put their lives on the line every day,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings.

Rawlings urged anyone who works downtown to avoid the area Friday.

Governor Abbott released the following statement about the shootings:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Dallas law enforcement community and the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) officers killed and injured this evening. I’ve spoken to Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw and have directed him to offer whatever assistance the City of Dallas needs at this time. In times like this we must remember – and emphasize – the importance of uniting as Americans.”

Lt. Governor Patrick released this statement Friday morning:

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Dallas Police Department, the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) and Dallas first responders. Several officers have been killed and many have been injured. During times like this all Texans must stand united as this investigation continues and those responsible are stopped, apprehended and brought to justice.

Please pray for the families of the officers killed and wounded in the line of duty in this horrific attack. Pray for the men and women in law enforcement across Texas and across our nation. They put their lives on the line every day for us. This is not just a Dallas tragedy, but also a Texas and an America tragedy.

Anyone with information about the shootings is asked to call Dallas police at 214.671.3485 and submit tips to iWatchDallas.com.

 

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