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Dallas's Long Night: 5 Police Officers Killed, Suspect in Standoff Dead, Downtown Declared a Crime Scene [UPDATED]

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UPDATE 9:43 a.m.: The suspected Dallas police shooter has been identified as Micah Xavier Johnson of Mesquite by DPD according to a report from KXAS.

A rally against police violence became a scene of bedlam when a pair of gunmen opened fire, killing five officers in downtown Dallas Thursday evening. 

The hail of gunshots shattered a previously peaceful rally at Belo Garden, sending hundreds of people fleeing through the streets in panic. Chief David Brown at first said that two shooters fired from separate elevated positions above the demonstration, but early Friday even that was cast in doubt and the gunman may have acted alone.

The chief said that the gunman wanted to kill white people and was angry about police shootings.  

The gunmen killed four Dallas police and one Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer. Five other officers and one civilian were wounded. The names of the DPD officers killed have not yet been released. DART identified its slain officer as Brent Thompson, 43, who joined the agency's police force in 2009. Thompson is the first DART officer to die in the line of duty.

Three other DART officers were expected to recover from their wounds, DART said.

One of the gunmen cornered himself in a parking garage at El Centro College. At 12:45 a.m.,  Brown told reporters that authorities were both negotiating and trading gunfire with that suspect.  Shortly after 3 a.m.,  the police moved a robot into position to end the standoff. 

"We saw no other option but to use our bomb robot and place a device on its extension for it to detonate where the suspect was," he said. "Other options would have exposed our officers to grave danger. The suspect is deceased as a result of detonating the bomb."

Tyler Lea, a witness, posted on Facebook, “It smells like gunpowder on Main Street.”

The holed-up suspect "told our negotiators that the end is coming and that he is going to hurt and kill more of us and that there are bombs all over the garage and downtown," Brown said. "So we are being very careful with our tactics."

The police arrested other suspects at the scene and followed several others who left after the shooting started. The police caught them in Oak Cliff, and as of late last night, were questioning them. "We still don't have complete comfort level that we have all the suspects," Brown said. Those in custody are not cooperating, Brown added. One of those suspects is a woman.

Mayor Mike Rawlings said that large sections of downtown Dallas will be sealed off as a crime scene. He said information on closures and details about which buildings may have to be unlocked to allow investigators access can be found on dallascitynews.net. 

"It is a heartbreaking morning," Rawlings said.  

As one of the organizers of the Justice for #AltonSterling #Philando Castile, the Reverend Jeff Hood was standing behind the old courthouse where protesters were gathering and had just crossed the street when gunfire erupted and a police officer collapsed.

“The only way to stop violence,” he says, “was by practicing nonviolence, and the answer tonight was death.”

Hood says he turned and screamed at the other protesters who were heading his way, “Get back, active shooter,” and started using his cross he often carries on protest walks to push people away.

“There was nothing I could do,” he says. “Obviously, you can’t stop crazy. But all the shooters have done is make the situation less safe for people who are already less safe.” 

Editor's note: This story is from our sister paper, the Dallas Observer.

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