A Dallas protest against nationwide police shootings on Thursday night turned violent as a sniper killed four policemen and wounded 7 others. The protest, organized by the “Black Lives Matter“, followed a televised speech by US President Barack Obama, criticizing police shootings. One civilian was also wounded in the gunfire.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown released the following statement:
“Tonight it appears that two snipers shot ten police officers from elevated positions during the protest/rally. Three officers are deceased, two are in surgery and three are in critical condition [One has since died of his wounds]. An intensive search for suspects is currently underway. No suspects are in custody at this time. We ask that any citizen with information regarding the shootings tonight call 214-671-3482.”
The police released a photo of one of the suspects on Twitter, asking the public for help in finding him.
This is one of our suspects. Please help us find him! pic.twitter.com/Na5T8ZxSz6
— Dallas Police Depart (@DallasPD) July 8, 2016
Later it was announced that there had only been one gunman.
Texas has an open-carry gun policy and licensed gun owners can openly carry weapons.
One suspect is in custody following an exchange of gunfire with Dallas SWAT, in which one of the policemen was shot. Dallas police said a suspicious package was located in the area, and the package is being investigated by the bomb squad. The FBI has joined the investigation and there is suspicion of another bomb.
The shooting came just a few hours after President Obama made a televised speech, criticizing the police for targeting blacks and Latinos, following the police killings this week of two black men in Minnesota and Louisiana.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said to the media, ““I think the country is longing for people to stop blaming one another and just grab each other’s arm and say we’re in this together,” he said. “That’s what we thirst for and we feel like we’re in a desert.”
Protests by the Black Lives Matter movement are continuing around the country.