Tragedy unfolded overnight in Dallas as at least 12 Dallas police officers were shot during a protest rally leaving at least five of the officers dead. Two civilians were also hit in the gunfire.
The Dallas Police Department said that snipers shot the officers from elevated positions during the protest. The Associated Press reported early Friday morning that five officers are dead and seven are injured as of early Friday morning.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown said three people are in custody and a fourth suspect was exchanging gunfire with authorities in a parking garage downtown earlier.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings has confirmed that the suspect in the parking garage who was in a standoff with police is dead.
Witnesses at the scene said the protesters were marching peacefully when the gunfire started.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released the following statement: “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.”
Dallas Area Rapid Transit is reporting that police officer Brent Thompson, 43, is among the officers killed during Thursday night’s protest in downtown Dallas. 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.
“As you can imagine, our hearts are broken. 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. Thank you.” DART said in a media release.
Additionally, they said the three other DART police officers shot during the protest are expected to recover from their injuries. No other DART employees working in Downtown during the protest or shooting were injured.
DART services in downtown Dallas were suspended following the shooting.
Dallas PD Chief Brown said in a press conference Friday morning, “We need your support to be able to protect you from men like these men who carried out this attack. Join us in helping us comfort the grieving officers’ families.”
Brown said that the shooter in the standoff with police told them he was angry about the recent shootings and wanted “to kill white people.”