A peaceful protest in response to the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile turned deadly last night when a sniper or snipers opened fire and killed five Dallas police officers and injured at least seven others, as well astwo civilians.
One suspect was killed by police using a robot bomb after negotiations broke down overnight and the suspect started shooting. The suspect is believed to be 25-year-old Micah Xavier Johnson. His race has not yet been identified.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown said Friday morning, “The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers. The suspect stated that he was not affiliated with any groups and he stated that he did this alone.”
It remains unclear if other shooters were involved. Three other suspects are currently in custody.
In his remarks on the tragedy President Barack Obama said, “We are horrified over these events, and we stand united with the people and the Police Department in Dallas.”
A lot still remains unknown about the attack, the president warned, but he stressed the murders were unjustifiable.
“But let’s be clear,” Obama said, “there’s no possible justification for these kinds of attacks, or any violence against law enforcement.”
In a speech on Thursday regarding the deaths of Sterling and Castile, and hours before the tragedy unfolded in Dallas, the president had also emphasized that seeking justice for those deaths does not signify being anti-law enforcement.
“So, you know, when people say Black lives matter, that doesn’t mean blue lives don’t matter,” he said. “It just means all lives matter but right now, the big concern is the fact that the data shows Black folks are more vulnerable to these kinds of incidents.”
He also said, “And so to all of law enforcement, I want to be very clear. We know you have a tough job. We mourn those in uniform who are protecting us who lose their lives.”
After the massacre in Dallas, Obama reiterated these sentiments.
“Today is a wrenching reminder of the sacrifices [police officers] make for us,” he said.
He called the murders “senseless” and said all suspects “will be held fully accountable.”
“Justice will be done,” he said.
In a Facebook post on Thursday the president had stated that while the deaths of Sterling and Castile represent “the racial disparities that appear across the system year after year,” this does not call for a divide between law enforcement and communities.
“To admit we’ve got a serious problem in no way contradicts our respect and appreciation for the vast majority of police officers who put their lives on the lines to protect us every single day,” he wrote. “It is to say that, as a nation, we can and must do better to institute the best practices that reduce the appearance or reality of racial bias in law enforcement.”
Brown called for unity between communities and law enforcement, stressing that the violence has to come to an end, and asked for much-needed support from citizens.
“All I know is that this must stop this divisiveness between our police and our citizens,” Brown said on Friday. “We don’t feel much support most days. Let’s not make today most days. Please, we need your support to be able to protect you from men like these, who carried out this tragic, tragic event.”