A Black Lives Matter protest against alleged police excess in Dallas was disrupted by gunfire from at least one sniper on Thursday evening, killing five city police officers, wounding seven more and injuring two civilians.
Dallas authorities say as many as four gunmen opened fire as a police violence protest approaching Dallas’ City Hall appeared to draw to a close. At approximately 8:45 p.m., gunfire erupted at police engaged in traffic and crowd control from what police describe as both pavement-level and elevated positions. Dallas officials say the assassins targeted police officers with high-powered rifles.
Police have identified one gunman as 25-year-old Micah Xavier Johnson. Johnson was killed by police at the scene. Three others are in police custody, including one woman.
As negotiations began with Johnson, the ex-Army reservist told a police intermediary he was infuriated over the deaths of two black men at the hands of police near Minneapolis, Minnesota, and in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and wanted to kill whites and white police officers.
Johnson had previously pledged support to the Black Lives Matter movement.
After negotiations failed to produce a resolution and intermittent gunfire continued between police and Johnson’s position, Johnson was killed by a police-guided, remote-operated explosive robot.
A robotics-field expert said this is the first time such technology has been used to eliminate a human suspect.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown told reporters Johnson did not belong to the Black Lives Matter or any other organization.
Characterizing the assassinations as “a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement” President Obama stated:
“There is no possible justification for these kinds of attacks or any violence against law enforcement. Anyone involved in the senseless murders will be held fully accountable. Justice will be done.”
[Reuters] [Yahoo News] [Photo courtesy Fox News via TMZ]