Lone gunman is killed after opening fire on Dallas police headquarters
Alone gunman with a history of domestic violence and delusional behavior opened fire at the Dallas police headquarters early Saturday, sparking a standoff that ended hours later when the man was killed by a police sniper, authorities said.
The gunman — who identified himself to police as 35-year-old James Boulware— was shot by the sniper around 5 a.m. in a parking lot in the Dallas suburb of Hutchins, where he was holed up inside an armored van, Police Chief David O. Brown said at a news conference Saturday morning.
“At 5:07 a.m., our SWAT snipers shot at the suspect through the front windshield of the van, striking the suspect,” Brown told reporters.
Nobody else was injured during the violence that had begun nearly five hours earlier, when the gunman parked a dark-colored vehicle outside the police headquarters at 1400 S. Lamar St. and began to spray the building with gunfire.
Several hours after the man had been shot, police were still unable to approach theman’s vehicle until they could confirm whether it was rigged with explosives. He had told police negotiators that he had “C4” explosives in the van, and authorities later found two pipe bombs packed with screws and nails inside the vehicle, police said. During an intentional detonation of the ordnance Saturday afternoon, the man’s vehicle caught fire, setting off rounds of ammunition, police said.
Brown added that his department is now working closely with the FBI.
Some witnesses originally reported seeing what appeared to be multiple people firing automatic weapons at the police station, but Brown said authorities think only one individual was responsible for in the shooting.
Cellphone photos taken at a gathering across the street showed the gunman firing upon police and officers sprinting for cover.
“He could have easily struck a civilian, but we think his intent was to strike officers,” he said. “He didn’t care when officers confronted him. He shot at officers just as freely as he was able to.”
As more officers arrived, the gunman rammed a police car with the van, shooting at the officers and other police cars before officers returned fire. Brown said his officers were seconds from being hurt or killed.
“You see bullet holes in the squad cars and bullet holes in the doors that officers were standing behind but no injuries,” he said. “It’s been a blessing.”
After the armored vehicle fled, police said they chased it to the parking lot of a Jack in the Box restaurant. Another firefight ensued, but no officers were injured.
Brown said authorities have not uncovered a motive for Saturday’s shooting, but they are investigating theman’s troubling social media footprint.
The Web site Heavy.com noted that he left aggressive messages on a Dallas County judge’s Facebook page and various conspiratorial rants on several Web sites about North Korea, Russia and Osama bin Laden.
The chief said the man’s name does not show up on any terrorism watchlists, but he is known to authorities because of his history of domestic violence.
“The suspect has told our negotiators that we took his child and we accused him of being a terrorist and that he’s going to blow us up,” Brown said. “And then [he] cut off negotiations.”
Police in Paris, Tex., told the Dallas Morning News that they arrested Boulware in 2013 “after he obtained firearms, ammunition and body armor before threatening to attack his family, as well as churches and schools.”
The suspect’s father, Jim Boulware of Carrollton, Tex., told the Morning News that his son blamed police for losing custody of his child. He told the newspaper that although his son had threatened violence in the past, his decision to lash out at authorities came as a shock.
Though the case was later dismissed, Boulware’s father said the arrest was the beginning of his son’s unraveling. He said Boulware was unable to find steady work and lost custody of his son to the child’s mother. After selling his house and being forced to stay with friends, he was nearing his breaking point, his father said.
Authorities also reported four bags with possible explosives left outside police headquarters. Police later said they had found two explosive devices, including one bag that contained pipe bombs, and said shortly after 6 a.m. local time that they had cleared the suspicious bags near the headquarters.
“He planted five packages to explode on touch,” Brown said. He noted that, had officers accidentally touched the explosives, which nearly happened, they would have been killed.
An FBI team member examines a piece of evidence in front of Dallas police headquarters. A video and photo gallery can be viewed at