5 Dallas police officers killed, more wounded at protest march

Dallas, Five Dallas-area police officers were killed and 11 others wounded Thursday night in sniper-style shootings during a protest over black men being killed by police in Minnesota and Louisiana.

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A unidentified suspect who engaged in a shootout with police while holed up in a parking garage has died, police told CNN. The man told negotiators bombs had been planted around the city. K-9 units searched the area for any possible explosives, but early Friday police said none were found.

A second man who was photographed on the street during the march carrying a rifle on his shoulder and whom police initially described as “one of our suspects” on Twitter — but who was later described as a “person of interest” — had turned himself in. It was not immediately clear whether the man was involved in the shootings.

Dallas Police Chief David Brown released a statement saying the suspects shot “from elevated positions during a protest” and hit some of the officers in the back, “ambush-style.”

He said early Friday that “two officers are in surgery and three are in critical condition.” Police have since clarified the numbers: 10 officers and one civilian were shot at the scene and four of those police officers were killed. The 11th officer was wounded during the shootout at the parking garage and had been taken to an area hospital.

Brown later said it was unclear how many active shooters were involved but three suspects were in custody.

Three of the slain officers were members of the Dallas Police Department. The fourth was a member of the Dallas transit police. Two were identified as Officer Patrick Zamarripa, and Brent Thompson, 43, a transit police officer.

The Dallas Morning News reported at least one suspect was tracked to a parking garage, where he was holed up on the second story of the facility, when a shootout took place. Officers were attempting negotiations and also returning gunfire with the suspect.

NBC News reported the suspect told police “the end is coming.”

Brown said preliminary evidence suggests the suspects positioned themselves above the protest march in a manner to “triangulate” what was, to that point, a peaceful demonstration protesting the police killings of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota in the previous days, two incidents that were captured by witnesses on video that was widely distributed online.

“Some [of the officers] were shot in the back,” the Dallas police chief said. “We believe that these suspects were positioning themselves in a way to triangulate on these officers.”

“Give our officers strength to catch these suspects and bring them to justice tonight,” Brown said.

Texas Gov. Rick Abbott cut short an out-of-state trip and was headed to Dallas early Friday. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said at a press conference it was a “heartbreaking morning, to lose these four officers who proudly served.”

The attacks came as demonstrators gathered in cities nationwide to protest police shootings of African-Americans in two incidents: Alton Sterling was shot to death on Tuesday by Baton Rouge, La., police after being held down by police officers, and Wednesday Philando Castile was shot and killed by a police officer in Minnesota.