UPDATED: Eleven Officers Shot at Dallas Protest, Five Dead

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By Emily Zanotti | 4:07 am, July 8, 2016

UPDATE, 12:15pm – Attorney General Loretta Lynch has made a statement urging calm, peaceful action on the part of protesters. Calling the weeks’ events “heartbreaking” and “tragic, she requested greater attention to gun control efforts.

The White House has also ordered all flags to half-staff at government buildings.

UPDATE, 12:00pm – We are learning more about the Dallas shooter, 25 year old Micah Xavier Johnson. According to local news, Johnson, who lived in Mesquite, Texas, about 20 minutes outside of Dallas, was a Private First Class in the US Army Reserves.

The Dallas/Fort Worth CBS affiliate also released these photos of Johnson, which they claim come from his Facebook page.

Police say Johnson had no prior criminal record and does not appear to have any ties to terrorist groups. Law enforcement is currently executing a search warrant on Johnson’s Mesquite home.

Organizers from last night’s march in Dallas also held a press conference, condemning the shooting and calling for peace.

UPDATE, 10:30am – Dallas police now say that five officers, including one Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer, have died following a sniper attack Thursday night during a downtown-area protest. The incident is now the single deadliest day for law enforcement since September 11, 2001.

Police cornered and killed a final suspect, 25-year-old Micah Xavier Johnson, in the early hours of Friday morning, using a small bomb attached to a robot. That suspect told police that he “wanted to kill white people,” especially white cops, that the “end was coming,” and that he had acted alone. According to sources within the Dallas Police department, Johnson was a Private First Class in the US  Army Reserves.

Dallas Police say they have questioned several persons of interest in relation to the shooting and are continuing their investigation.

UPDATE, 10:15am – Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have cancelled planned campaign events Friday in the wake of the Dallas shooting.

On the heels of his Twitter condolences last night, Donald Trump released a reasoned, restrained statement to press this morning.

Hillary Clinton has yet to release a full statement to media, but did Tweet her condolences for the families of the slain officers.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan also made a statement Friday morning in a speech on the House floor, referencing President Obama’s early-morning statement and telling gathered Congressmen, “Who can fathom such a horror as this?”

House minority leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi followed up by saying, “whatever the motivation of this horrible crime, it is clear the perpetrators of this vile act have an agenda of evil.”

Not all responses were as tactful as the two Presidential front-runners’ however. Former Congressman-turned-Illinois-radio host Joe Walsh responded to last night’s events by Tweeting that “this is now war” and issuing what appeared to be a vaguely worded threat to President Obama.

Walsh quickly removed the Tweet but not before it had been disseminated across social media. He responded to criticism early this morning claiming that users had misread his intent.

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Eleven police officers have been shot, five are dead and one civilian is injured after snipers fired on them at peaceful protest in downtown Dallas.

Two suspects are in custody, a third has reportedly killed himself after a stand-off, and police warn there may be more.

The incident will likely change the national conversation surrounding racial prejudice and law enforcement, inflaming tensions further as political leaders struggle to address two shootings at the hands of police in Louisiana and Minnesota.

Donald Trump intervened with a weirdly understated comment Friday morning:

The protest in Dallas was one of several across the country intended to draw attention to the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

Police attempt to calm the crowd as someone is arrested following the sniper shooting in Dallas on July 7, 2016. A fourth police officer was killed and two suspected snipers were in custody after a protest late Thursday against police brutality in Dallas, authorities said. One suspect had turned himself in and another who was in a shootout with SWAT officers was also in custody, the Dallas Police Department tweeted. / AFP / Laura Buckman (Photo credit should read LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters scattered in terror after shots rang out in Dallas last night

Details are still emerging but according to witnesses on the scene, the shooting started at the end of the protest, around 8:30 Central time.

The shooters appear to have planned their attack, targeting police officers and transit officers helping to manage and protect the protesters. At least two took aim from “elevated positions” – likely parking garages.

Social media was quickly filled with first hand accounts.

Police originally took three suspects in custody. One was arrested after a shootout.

A second was soon released after it became clear he had nothing to do with the attacks.

Police were locked in a standoff with another man for hours, which ended around 3am local time when he shot himself.

Dallas police have apprehended a suspicious package located near where they arrested the first suspect and are searching for more potential explosive devices. U.S. Marshals and the ATF are reportedly also on scene.

The protesters were reacting to two incidents from the past several days — the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by police officers.

It is not clear whether the two individuals being sought by police are affiliated with the protests, or whether they were taking advantage of a chaotic situation.

This will clearly be a difficult situation for political leaders to navigate, given the intense emotion on all sides of the political debate surrounding law enforcement, police brutality and racial prejudice.

The Dallas protests were, according to witnesses, an example of peaceful, productive demonstration. Large protests also took place Thursday evening in Washington DC, Oakland, California and Atlanta, Georgia.

Politicians – including both Presidential candidates – seemed hesitant to weigh in on the events in Dallas. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will be expected to make statements, the contents of which will have a dramatic effect on the Presidential race, at least in the short term.

President Obama spoke out about the “vicious, calculated and despicable” attacks from a NATO meeting in Warsaw, Poland.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott commented at midnight Central time:

The mayor of Dallas was close behind:

Texas senator and former presidential candidate Ted Cruz spoke out:

Congressman Pete Sessions, who represents part of Dallas in the House of Representatives, also weighed in:

The Democratic National Committee released a statement at 1am Eastern, but mentioned Dallas only in passing:

Tensions have been running high for months, as police supporters, activists and law enforcement critics have debated the role of lingering racial prejudices in society and how they affect police operations.

Protests have remained largely peaceful, but this incident is likely to change the discussion’s dynamic.

Already, the subject has created a stark outrage gap between those who believe officers unfairly target members of the black community, those who support and defend law enforcement’s actions, and those who are concerned that the debate has created dangerous tension nationally. Thursday night’s events are only likely to inject greater emotion.

 

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