Dallas: Five Dallas police officers were killed and seven others wounded by snipers on Thursday night during a demonstration protesting shootings by officers in Minnesota and Louisiana this week, New York Times reported quoting Chief David O. Brown of the Dallas police.
These shots came at around 9 p.m., local time just as a rally where hundreds gathered to protest the recent fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile in Minnesota was ending, KXAS reported. The protesters were marching from the Belo Garden Park to the Old Red Courthouse.
It is unknown at this time if there is a connection between the shots and the protest, The Washington Post reported.
One suspect was arrested late Thursday after a shootout with the Dallas police, Chief Brown said. A suspicious package was found near the suspect and was being secured by a police bomb squad, The New York Times reported.
A second man, whose photo the Police Department had released as a “person of interest,” had turned himself in, and other “persons of interest” were being questioned.
Chief Brown said the shooting was carried out by two snipers who fired down on a demonstration in the city’s downtown area that until then had been peaceful.
They “planned to injure and kill as many law enforcement officers as they could,” Chief Brown said. “Some were shot in the back,” the chief said. “We believe that these suspects were positioning themselves in a way to triangulate on these officers.”
A civilian in the crowd of almost 1,000 people was also wounded.
The police were also combing downtown Dallas for what they believe was a bomb planted by the snipers as the heart of the country’s ninth-largest city was put on lockdown.
The chief said he had contacted the F.B.I., Firearms, Explosives and others for help in the investigation.
The Police Department had released the photo of the person of interest the man who later turned himself in and sent out a plea on social media. “This is one of our suspects,” the Twitter post said. “Please help us find him!”
Although the shooting occurred during a rally to protest the police shootings, it was unclear what relationship the gunmen had to the demonstration.
It was unknown what the motives were, “except they fired on the police,” said Clay Jenkins, the Dallas County judge and the county’s chief executive. “All government buildings in that area are on lockdown. That’s the government center where this is happening.”
The Dallas Police Association confirmed that officers were injured, posting on Twitter: “Pray for Dallas tonight. Officers down.”