A Dallas police officer covers his face as he stands with others outside the emergency room at Baylor University Medical Center, Friday, July 8, 2016, in Dallas. Snipers opened fire on police officers in the heart of Dallas on Thursday night, killing some of the officers. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Dallas Texas, The SAD Facts…
Here is what we know:
Dallas Police Chief David Brown said it’s unclear how many suspects were involved, but three people are in custody.
Four Dallas police officers and a DART officer were killed Thursday night during a protest downtown.
Seven other officers and two civilians were wounded in a coordinated attack during the demonstration against recent shootings of black men by police in Louisiana and Minnesota.
A man who exchanged gunfire with police in the El Centro College garage was reported dead shortly before 3 a.m.
The shooting was the deadliest day for law officers since Sept. 11, 2001, when 72 officers died,according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown said snipers with rifles shot 12 officers and one bystander from elevated positions about 9 p.m..
At 1:42 the Dallas Police Association tweeted that a fifth officer had died.
The names of the Dallas police officers have not been released, but DART identified the officer it lost as 43-year-old Brent Thompson, who joined the department in 2009. He had recently married a fellow officer, DART police Chief J.D. Spiller.
Thompson is the first officer to be killed in the line of duty since DART formed a police department in 1989, spokesman Morgan Lyons said.
“Our hearts are broken,” Lyons said in a written statement. “This is something that touches every part of our organization. We have received countless expressions of support and sympathy from around the world through the evening. We are grateful for every message.”
Three other DART officers were wounded, but they are expected to recover, Lyons said.
The wounded DART personnel were identified as Officer Omar Cannon, 44, who joined the DART force in July 2009; Officer Misty McBride, 32, who joined in March 2010; and Officer Jesus Retana, 39, who joined in April 2006.
Two civilians were also wounded. One was undergoing surgery early Friday after being shot in the right calf.
The sister of 37-year-old Shetamia Taylor said Taylor was at the protests Thursday night with her four sons, ages 12 to 17. Theresa Williams said when the shooting began, Taylor threw herself over her sons, The Associated Press reported.
The officers were assaulted “ambush-style,” Brown said, with some of them shot in the back.
“Give our officers strength to catch these suspects and bring them to justice tonight,” he said.
The family of one of the officers was at a Rangers game at the time of the shooting, KXAS-TV (NBC5) reported. Arlington police reportedly escorted the family to the hospital.
At 12:30 one suspect was in custody and one was dead.
At a 12:30 a.m. news conference, Brown said officers had been exchanging gunfire for 45 minutes with a man in the El Centro garage.
“He has told our negotiators that the end is coming and he’s going to hurt and kill more of us –meaning law enforcement — and that there are bombs all over the place in this garage and in downtown,” Brown said.
A woman who had been in the same area as the man who was facing off against police was taken into custody, he said.
Brown said at the 1 a.m. news conference police aren’t certain they have all the suspects.
About 1:20 a.m., an explosion went off at El Centro. It was unclear whether police had detonated a suspicious package they found earlier or whether it was something else, such as a stun grenade intended to distract the suspect.
Shortly before 3 a.m., police reported that the gunman in the garage was dead.
Dallas police Maj. Max Geron said officials were conducting “extensive sweeps” of downtown for explosives. About 5 a.m., Geron said primary and secondary s
weeps turned up none.
He said police were sorting through the “massive” crime scene and working on a plane to funnel traffic through downtown.
People were encouraged to stay away from downtown. Downtown workers were asked to check dallascitynews.net to see whether their buildings would be open Friday.
Mayor Mike Rawlings calls for UNITY
Brown said he was proud to “be a part of this great noble profession,” and to see the courage of the officers who ran toward gunfire to help the wounded.
“We as a city, we as a country must come together, lock arms and heal the wounds that we all feel from time to time,” he said. “Words matter, leadership matters at this time. I’m proud of our chief.”
“It is a heartbreaking morning to lose these four officers who proudly served our citizens,” Rawlings said. “To say that our police officers put their lives on the line every day is no hyperbole, ladies and gentlemen. It’s a reality.”
There are still a lot of details coming out on this story, please check back for updates. We will bring the latest to you as they come in. This is a tragic event and prayers are needed for all involved. My thoughts and prayers are with the families that were viciously attacked last night. Also with the Dallas Police Department and the DART Transit system. My hope is this is not something we will ever witness again.