DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/KRLD) – A peaceful protest against officer-involved shootings around the nation took a sinister turn at about 9:00 p.m. on Thursday night, as snipers in downtown Dallas shot 12 police officers and two civilians, killing five of the officers, according to Mayor Mike Rawlings and Chief David Brown with the Dallas Police Department.
“Some officers were shot in the back,” said Brown, who added that they were attacked “ambush-style.”
One suspect died just before 3:00 a.m. on Friday after an hours-long standoff with police. Authorities cornered that suspect in the parking garage of El Centro College and tried to negotiate with him. However, the communications broke down and police were left with few options that were safe.
Police sent a bomb robot in with an explosive device, and detonated it near the suspect. “The suspect is deceased as a result of detonating the bomb,” Brown said. Earlier reports that the suspect killed himself were said to be inaccurate.
During the negotiation process, Brown explained, the suspect gave some insight into his thought process. “The suspect said he was upset about ‘Black Lives Matter.’ He said he was upset about the recent police shootings. The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect said he wanted to kill white people — especially white officers.”
The suspect also reportedly said that authorities would “eventually find the IEDs.” That led to an extensive sweep of the Dallas area, which has so far turned up no explosives. Brown added, “The suspect stated he was not affiliated with any groups and stated that he did this alone.”
According to Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings three suspects are in custody, two men and one woman. Their names have not been released pending the ongoing investigation.
At about 3:30am Maj. Max Geron of the Dallas PD tweeted, “There are extensive sweeps of downtown for explosives underway. This will take quite a while.”
Early Friday morning Chief Brown sent the following statement via email before the fourth officer died.
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. 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.
DART police officer Brent Thompson, 43, was identified as one of the victims fatally shot by snipers during Thursday night’s protest in Downtown Dallas. Officer Thompson is the first officer killed in the line of duty since DART formed a police department in 1989. He joined the DART Police Department in 2009.
Police released more information about what happened during and after the stand-off that ended with a suspect taking his own life.
Sources said the suspect was inside of El Centro college on the second floor during the standoff. The focus was originally on the parking garage across the street but – at some point – moved to the college.
After setting off a “flash bang” device, SWAT moved in and found the suspect dead with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Sources also said police had reason to believe the suspect may have left explosives in the area but none were found. The ATF brought in bomb sniffing dogs to clear the college and the parking garage.
When the shooting began, witnesses told CBS11 they heard multiple gunshots fire off and saw protesters start running, fearful for their lives.
“They were shooting down at police. I saw officers get hit,” said protester Jamal Johnson.
Dallas rally organizer Cory Hughes recounted the moment he heard at least “30 gun shots” go off. “Whoever was shooting had an assault rifle — and I know guns. The shots were in rapid succession,” he said.