Lone gun­man is killed af­ter open­ing fire on Dal­las po­lice head­quar­ters

The Washington Post Sunday - - POLITICS & THE NATION - BY PETER HOL­LEY AND MARK BER­MAN peter.hol­ley@wash­post.com mark.ber­man@wash­post.com

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.

TONY GU­TIER­REZ/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

An FBI team mem­ber ex­am­ines a piece of ev­i­dence in front of Dal­las po­lice head­quar­ters. A video and photo gallery can be viewed at

wash­ing­ton­post.com/na­tional.

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