At around 9PM Thursday night in Dallas, as a peaceful march protesting police violence and the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile was winding down, the streets rang out with gunfire.
Snipers strategically situated at elevated positions along the protest route shot eleven police officers, killing five of them, and injuring at least two civilians. The number of confirmed shooters is yet to be determined.
Four of the five police officers killed in the attack were from the Dallas Police Department, and one was a Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) officer.
One of the suspects, said to be 25 year old Micah Xavier Johnson, was killed by a robot with a bomb after a several-hour long standoff with police in a parking garage. Though Johnson told negotiators that he “did this alone”, three other suspects are also in custody.
Police Chief David Brown said that Johnson told negotiators that he was upset about the recent police shootings and the #Blacklivesmatter movement. In addition to telling them that he had no group affiliations and was working alone. Johnson was an army veteran, and served a nine-month tour in Afghanistan in 2013.
Black Lives Matter organizers and supporters responded to the attacks via social media.
The Dallas Police Department falsely named Mark Hughes as one of the shooters, tweeting his photo, and asking followers to help find and identify him. Hughes was eventually cleared of all charges, though the tweet remained for hours.
Hughes said that he received death threats as a result. In an interview with CBS Dallas, he said he told police:
“Y’all have my faces on national news, are y’all gonna come out and say that this young man had nothing to do with it?”
Shetamia Taylor, one of the civilians also injured in the attack, was shot in the leg while trying to shield her children from the gunfire. Taylor is currently recovering from her injury at the hospital.
Sherie Williams, Taylor’s sister, said that Shetamia had wanted to teach her 4 sons, who are between the ages of 12 and 17, about peaceful protests.