Suspect ‘tar­geted whites’

Shooter killed by bomb

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - TERRY WAL­LACE

DAL­LAS: Events in this city where five po­lice of­fi­cers were fa­tally shot and seven oth­ers wounded dur­ing a protest over fa­tal po­lice shoot­ings of black men in other states was the blood­i­est day for US law en­force­ment since the 2001 ter­ror­ist at­tacks.

Thursday’s blood­shed, which un­folded just a few blocks from where Pres­i­dent John F Kennedy was slain in 1963, also evoked the trauma of the na­tion’s tu­mul­tuous civil rights era.

Po­lice Chief David Brown ini­tially blamed “snipers,” and au­thor­i­ties said three sus­pects were in cus­tody and a fourth dead.

By late Fri­day at­ten­tion was fo­cused on a man who was killed by law en­force­ment with a ro­bot-de­liv­ered bomb in a park­ing garage where he had ex­changed fire with of­fi­cers. Be­fore dy­ing, the po­lice chief said, the suspect de­clared to of­fi­cers that he was up­set about re­cent shoot­ings and wanted to kill whites, “es­pe­cially white of­fi­cers.”

The suspect also said he was not af­fil­i­ated with any groups and stated that he acted alone, Brown added.

None of the sus­pects was iden­ti­fied, and the po­lice chief said he would not dis­close any de­tails about them un­til au­thor­i­ties were sure no­body else was in­volved.

The shoot­ing be­gan about 8.45pm on Thursday while hun­dreds of peo­ple were gath­ered to protest the week’s fa­tal po­lice shoot­ings in Ba­ton Rouge and sub­ur­ban St. Paul. Brown told re­porters the snipers fired “am­bush-style” on the of­fi­cers. Two civil­ians were also wounded.

Brown said it ap­peared the shoot­ers “planned to in­jure and kill as many of­fi­cers as could.”

Video from the scene showed pro­test­ers march­ing along a street near City Hall when shots erupted and the crowd scat­tered, seek­ing cover.

Of­fi­cers crouched be­side ve­hi­cles, ar­moured SWAT team ve­hi­cles ar­rived and a he­li­copter hov­ered over­head.

The Dal­las shoot­ings oc­curred in an area of ho­tels, restau­rants, busi­nesses and some res­i­den­tial apart­ments only a few blocks from Dealey Plaza, the land­mark made fa­mous by the Kennedy as­sas­si­na­tion.

The scene was chaotic, with of­fi­cers with au­to­matic ri­fles on the street cor­ners.

Brown said the sus­pects “tri­an­gu­lated” of­fi­cers 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 shot.

Mayor Mike Rawl­ings said one of the wounded of­fi­cers had a bul­let go through his leg as three mem­bers of his squad were fa­tally shot around him.

“He felt that peo­ple don’t un­der­stand the dan­ger of deal­ing with a protest,” said Rawl­ings, who spoke to the sur­viv­ing of­fi­cer.

“And that’s what I learnt from this. We care so much about peo­ple protest­ing, and I think it’s their rights. But how we han­dle it can do a lot of things. One of the things it can do is put our po­lice of­fi­cers in harm’s way, and we have to be very care­ful about do­ing that.”

Early yes­ter­day morn­ing, dozens of of­fi­cers filled the cor­ri­dor of the emer­gency room at Bay­lor Med­i­cal Cen­ter, where other wounded of­fi­cers were taken.

The mayor and po­lice chief were seen ar­riv­ing there.

Four of the of­fi­cers who were killed were with the Dal­las Po­lice De­part­ment, a spokesman said. One was a Dal­las Area Rapid Tran­sit of­fi­cer. The agency said in a state­ment that 43-year-old of­fi­cer Brent Thomp­son, a new­ly­wed whose bride also works for the po­lice force, was the first of­fi­cer killed in the line of duty since the agency formed a po­lice de­part­ment in 1989.

“Our hearts are bro­ken,” the state­ment said.

Theresa Wil­liams said one of the wounded civil­ians was her sis­ter, 37-year-old Shetamia Tay­lor, who was shot in the right calf.

She had thrown her­self over her four sons, ages 12 to 17, when the shoot­ing be­gan.

Texas Gov­er­nor Greg Ab­bott di­rected the Texas De­part­ment of Pub­lic Safety to of­fer “what­ever as­sis­tance the City of Dal­las needs.”

“In times like this we must re­mem­ber – and em­pha­sise – the im­por­tance of unit­ing as Amer­i­cans,” Ab­bott said.

Other protests across the US on Thursday were peace­ful, in­clud­ing in New York, At­lanta, Chicago and Philadel­phia. In Min­nesota hun­dreds of pro­test­ers marched in the rain from a vigil to the gov­er­nor’s of­fi­cial res­i­dence.

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama said Amer­ica is “hor­ri­fied” by the shoot­ings, which have no pos­si­ble jus­ti­fi­ca­tion. He called them “vi­cious, cal­cu­lated and de­spi­ca­ble.”

Speak­ing from War­saw, Poland, where he was meet­ing lead­ers of the Euro­pean Union and at­tend­ing a Nato sum­mit, the pres­i­dent asked all Amer­i­cans to pray for the fallen of­fi­cers and their fam­i­lies.

The Na­tional Law En­force­ment Of­fi­cers Me­mo­rial Fund, which tracks on-duty deaths, said the fa­tal shoot­ings made Thursday the blood­i­est day for US po­lice since the 2001 Septem­ber 11 at­tacks. – ANA-AP

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

A po­lice of­fi­cer is com­forted at Bay­lor Univer­sity Hospi­tal af­ter Thurd­say’s shoot­ing at­tack in Dal­las.

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