Dal­las cops un­scathed in attack

A sin­gle gun­man with an ar­mored van and ex­plo­sives is shot to death af­ter as­sault on po­lice head­quar­ters.

Los Angeles Times - - THE NATION - By Molly Hen­nessy-Fiske and Nigel Duara molly.hen­nessy-fiske @la­times.com nigel.duara@la­times.com Hen­nessy-Fiske re­ported from Dal­las and Duara from Phoenix.

DAL­LAS— An overnight shoot­ing turned po­lice head­quar­ters here into a crime scene on Satur­day with a det­o­nated pipe-bomb and bul­let-rid­dled win­dows and po­lice cars, while miles away a sus­pect was shot dead by a po­lice sniper af­ter a stand­off in an ar­mored van car­ry­ing ex­plo­sives.

“We were un­be­liev­ably for­tu­nate,” Dal­las Po­lice Maj. Jeff Cot­ner said of the brazen attack in which no one was killed or in­jured.

More than 30 bul­lets tore through the lobby’s front win­dows and glass doors af­ter the gun­man, ap­par­ently an­gry over los­ing his child in a cus­tody dis­pute, ap­proached on foot and opened fire on the build­ing with an as­sault-style weapon about12:30 a.m.

“Of­fi­cers were sit­ting there at the time that the shots were fired,” Cot­ner said of the lobby dam­age. “Those rounds went all the way through and into records, the roomat the back.”

Po­lice found two satchels con­tain­ing pipe bombs near the head­quar­ters build­ing and evac­u­ated a nearby hous­ing com­plex. A po­lice of­fi­cer al­most tripped on one pipe bomb pack­age planted at the scene and rigged to ex­plode when touched, said Po­lice Chief David Brown. One ex­plo­sive det­o­nated in front of a gray Toy­ota SUV, destroying the front and char­ring the pave­ment.

Cot­ner would not say whether po­lice det­o­nated the bomb, but in­ves­ti­ga­tors found an elec­tronic det­o­na­tor in nearby trees.

Bul­let holes pen­e­trated one po­lice cruiser, pass­ing through the seat and the seat belt on the driver’s side and the rear pas­sen­ger win­dow. But nei­ther of­fi­cer in the car was hit— a “mir­a­cle,” Cot­ner said.

“We barely sur­vived the in­tent of the sus­pect,” Brown said.

The shooter, who later iden­ti­fied him­self to po­lice as James Boul­ware, 35, of Paris, Texas, sprayed the squad cars with bul­lets be­fore peel­ing off in an ar­mored van equipped with gun ports, of­fi­cials said. As po­lice chased him south, he called them to say his van was full of ex­plo­sives, Brown said.

The sus­pect, who in­ves­ti­ga­tors said has not yet been iden­ti­fied by med­i­cal ex­am­in­ers, even­tu­ally stopped at a Jack-in-the-Box park­ing lot in the sub­urb of Hutchins, about 12 miles south, and was sur­rounded by a SWAT team. There the at­tacker ex­changed gun­fire with po­lice and told ne­go­tia­tors that he blamed po­lice for his loss of cus­tody of his son and “ac­cus­ing him of be­ing a ter­ror­ist,” Brown said.

Dur­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions, the man be­came in­creas­ingly an­gry, and po­lice grew con­cerned that they and nearby res­i­dents could be shot at, Brown said.

Af­ter an hours-long stand­off, po­lice fired through the wind­shield of the van around 5 a.m. and then used an “ex­plo­sive wa­ter charge” to neu­tral­ize the gun­pow­der in bombs in­side the ve­hi­cle, Brown said. Shortly be­fore noon, po­lice det­o­nated the van, which caught fire.

The name given by the sus­pect matches that of a Texas man, James Lance Boul­ware, who was at the cen­ter of a brief po­lice man­hunt two years ago af­ter an ar­gu­ment with his fam­ily in which he made threats about shoot­ing at schools and churches, said Bob Hund­ley, the po­lice chief in Paris.

The in­ci­dent in April 2013 be­gan when Boul­ware re­port­edly made sev­eral ag­gres­sive state­ments about reli­gion. His mother told him he was “go­ing to hell,” and Boul­ware then grabbed her by the throat, Hund­ley said. He also fought with an un­cle.

“He was com­ing to do them some harm,” Hund­ley said of the en­counter with fam­ily mem­bers.

When the con­fronta­tion ended, ac­cord­ing to the re­port, Boul­ware’s brother said Boul­ware went home and re­trieved guns, ammunition and body ar­mor.

Be­cause Boul­ware had re­port­edly made threats about shoot­ings, a mul­ti­a­gency man­hunt fol­lowed un­til a La­mar County sher­iff ’s deputy stopped Boul­ware’s car. Po­lice did not find any weapons, ar­mor or ammunition in the car, and he was ar­rested on out­stand­ing war­rants. It is un­clear how the ar­rest was re­solved.

Kim Cooks, judge of the 255th Fam­ily Dis­trict Court in Dal­las County, who said she had been over­see­ing Boul­ware’s cus­tody ar­range­ment, told CNN on Satur­day that she had been con­cerned about Boul­ware, es­pe­cially af­ter he missed a cus­tody hear­ing on Mon­day. Some­one us­ing Boul­ware’s name had left rants on a Face­book page for Cooks’ elec­tion claim­ing she was against him.

“I never did think [the Dal­las po­lice] would be the tar­get,” Cooks said in a tele­vised in­ter­view. “I al­ways thought that I was go­ing to be the tar­get.”

Theat­tack shook not just Dal­las, the ninth-largest city in the coun­try, but other Texas cities. In Har­ris County, which in­cludes Hous­ton, the Sher­iff’s Depart­ment is­sued a mes­sage to res­i­dents say­ing that although the shoot­ing ap­peared to be iso­lated, they would “main­tain a sense of se­cu­rity to en­sure of­fi­cer and com­mu­nity safety alike.”

In Austin, Texas Atty. Gen. Ken Pax­ton called the shoot­ing “a danger­ous re­minder of the un­pre­dictable threats our men and women in law en­force­ment face ev­ery day.”

Later Satur­day near Dal­las po­lice head­quar­ters, Navy vet­eran Ruben Wat­ley, 48, said he had been walk­ing in the early morn­ing hours to a light-rail sta­tion and heard what sounded like semi­au­to­matic gun­fire — about a hun­dred rounds in 15 min­utes.

“I heard a car screech, and then the cops didn’t get a chance to get in front of him,” Wat­ley said. “That’s what led to the chase.”

Nearby res­i­dents Ladar­rick Alexander and his fi­ancee, Laquita Davis, said they were driv­ing to their apart­ment when they heard 15 to 20 gun­shots in quick suc­ces­sion.

Sec­onds later, po­lice could be seen swarm­ing an un­marked van, ap­par­ently the sus­pect’s, which ap­peared to have crashed into a po­lice car, they said.

The cou­ple turned around and parked out­side the po­lice perime­ter about two blocks away, where they heard the sound of one det­o­na­tion about 4:30 a.m. and saw smoke ris­ing.

Po­lice head­quar­ters is in a for­mer ware­house dis­trict called the Cedars at the edge of down­town, where a bou­tique ho­tel and sev­eral new apart­ment build­ings have opened.

The shoot­ing is sim­i­lar to one in Austin the day af­ter last Thanks­giv­ing, in which a gun­man fired at least 100 rounds at gov­ern­ment build­ings, in­clud­ing po­lice head­quar­ters, be­fore a po­lice of­fi­cer shot and killed him. The shooter, Larry McQuil­liams, 49, had mul­ti­ple weapons and hun­dreds of rounds of ammunition.

Ash­ley Lan­dis Dal­las Morn­ing News

PO­LICE SUR­ROUNDED the sus­pect in the sub­urb of Hutchins for sev­eral hours af­ter the ini­tial attack and a 12-mile chase. The man, be­lieved to be James Boul­ware, 35, was ap­par­ently up­set about a cus­tody dis­pute.

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