The Slatest

Dallas Attack May Have Been Perpetrated by Single Shooter

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings looks on during a press conference at Dallas City Hall as Dallas Police Chief David Brown speaks on the fatal shootings of five police officers on July 8, 2016 in Dallas, Texas.

Photo by Stewart F. House/Getty Images

What we know about the events of Thursday night and Friday morning:

  • At least 12 police officers and two civilians were shot in downtown Dallas when heavy gunfire erupted at what had seemed to be a mutually respectful protest related to the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Five of the officers have died.
  • Four suspects in the attack were identified by Dallas police; one died after being cornered by police for several hours in a parking garage, one (a woman) was taken into custody nearby, and two were taken into custody after police stopped their car. Recent reports, however, indicate that the man killed in the parking garage may have been the only shooter.
  • That individual has been identified by law enforcement as Micah Xavier Johnson. According to police, Johnson was killed after a standoff during which he “stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.”

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Update, 4:05 p.m.: As has happened often in other mass shooting situations, initial reports that multiple individuals were involved in yesterday’s attack may have been inaccurate. Reports CNN: “Federal law enforcement officials believe Johnson was the only shooter in the ambush that began Thursday night.”

Update 10:45 a.m.: Citing law enforcement sources, the Los Angeles Times, CBS News, and NBC News have now identified a gunman in the Dallas shooting as Micah Johnson.

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The Times also reported that the suspect, who was killed in a standoff with police early Friday after a robot was used to explode a device near him, was a 25-year-old Dallas resident named Micah X. Johnson with no known criminal history or ties to terror, according to an unnamed law enforcement official. Citing a senior law enforcement official, NBC News reported similar details and gave the shooter’s middle name as Xavier.

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“We cornered one suspect and we tried to negotiate for several hours,” Dallas Police Chief David Brown said. After negotiations failed, there was a firefight.

“We saw no other option than to use our bomb robot and place a device on its extension to detonate where the suspect was,” Brown said. “Other options would have exposed our officers to grave danger.”

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Original post: Heavy gunfire erupted on Thursday night in Dallas in what appears to have been a coordinated attack on police officers at a protest march related to the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile; five Dallas officers were killed, and six others were injured. (One protester was injured as well.) Three suspects have been taken into custody, and one was killed after a standoff with police. Police Chief David Brown spoke moments ago about how the individual involved the standoff described his motivations:

He said he was upset about the recent police shootings. The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers. … The suspect stated he was not affiliated with any groups, and he stated that he did this alone.

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(It’s not clear what the comment about acting alone means in relation to the other suspects apprehended.)

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Before the shooting, the Dallas Police Department’s Twitter account had been posting pictures of peaceful protesters, including some who were interacting with officers. The Dallas PD has been previously cited in national publications for its constructive and transparent approach to community relations.

Speaking from a NATO summit in Poland on Friday morning, President Obama called the attacks “a vicious, calculated, and despicable attack on law enforcement” whose perpetrators will be brought to justice. “As a nation, let’s remember to express our profound gratitude to our men and women in blue, not just today but every day,” the president said.

A man named Mark Hughes who was carrying a rifle during the protest was identified on Twitter as a potential shooter and then officially identified by Dallas police as a suspect, but Hughes has since been cleared of involvement in the attack. Open carry of firearms is legal in Texas, and Hughes handed his weapon over to an officer after shooting began.

See more of Slate’s coverage of the Dallas shooting.

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