At least two snipers opened fire on police officers in Dallas on Thursday night, killing five officers and injuring six others during protests over two recent fatal police shootings of black men, police said.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown told reporters the snipers fired “ambush style” upon the officers. Mayor Mike Rawlings said one member of the public was wounded in the gunfire.
He later said that three suspects were taken into custody and a fourth suspect is exchanging gunfire with officers.
Police are negotiating with the man who told them that there are “bombs all over Dallas.”
In earlier statement, Dallas Police said a suspicious package was being secured by a bomb squad.
Video footage from the scene showed that protesters were marching along a street in downtown, about half a mile from City Hall, when the shots erupted and the crowd scattered, seeking cover.
Brown said that it appeared the shooters “planned to injure and kill as many officers as they could.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement saying he has directed the Texas Department of Public Safety director to offer “whatever assistance the City of Dallas needs at this time.”
“In times like this we must remember — and emphasize — the importance of uniting as Americans,” Abbott said.
The search for the shooters stretched throughout downtown, an area of hotels, restaurants, businesses and some residential apartments. The scene was chaotic, with helicopters hovering overhead and officers with automatic rifles on the street corners.
“Everyone just started running,” Devante Odom, 21, told The Dallas Morning News. “We lost touch with two of our friends just trying to get out of there.”
Carlos Harris, who lives downtown told the newspaper that the shooters “were strategic. It was tap tap pause. Tap tap pause.”
Demonstrator Brittaney Peete told The Associated Press that she didn’t hear the gunshots, but she “saw people rushing back toward me saying there was an active shooter.”
Peete said she saw a woman trip and nearly get trampled.
West Shore RCMP, who lost one of their own in April when Const. Sarah Beckett was killed in the line of duty, posted a message to social media tonight “With heavy hearts – Our thoughts and prayers are with
@DallasPD during this terrible tragedy in Dallas.”
With files from AP