What began as a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Dallas, Texas - one of many across the country in the wake of two recent shootings of black males - turned into a nightmare and chaos as possibly four (4) snipers used the gathering to launch a full scale attack on police that left five officers dead and six more wounded. Three suspects are in custody and one sniper was killed during the exchange of gunfire. If the shooters had any connection to the protests other than taking advantage of the gathering of police at the event is under investigation. If nothing else, the event again shows that America's ridiculous gun laws allows those who should not have guns to easily purchase them and commit mayhem. Here are some highlights from the New York Times:
DALLAS — Five Dallas police officers were killed and six others were wounded by snipers Thursday night during a demonstration protesting shootings by officers in Minnesota and Louisiana this week, the authorities said.
The police say they believe four people coordinated the attack with rifles, Police Chief David O. Brown said, and positioned themselves in triangulated locations near the end of the route the protesters planned to take. The police had three people in custody and were negotiating in the early-morning hours with a fourth, who was in a garage in downtown Dallas at El Centro, a community college.
That suspect had exchanged gunfire with the police and was being uncooperative in talks, Chief Brown said at a news conference in the lobby of City Hall.
The suspect “has told our negotiators that the end is coming and he’s going to hurt and kill more of us, meaning law enforcement, and that there are bombs all over the place in this garage and downtown,” Chief Brown said.
The three other suspects are a woman who was taken from the garage and two others who were taken in for questioning after a traffic stop.
[President Obama remarked] “Police in Dallas were on duty doing their jobs, keeping people safe, during peaceful protests. These law enforcement officers were targeted, and nearly a dozen officers were shot. Five were killed. Other officers, and at least one civilian, were wounded. Some are in serious condition and we are praying or their recovery.”
Chief Brown said the suspects in custody were not providing investigators with many details. “We just are not getting the cooperation we’d like, to know that answer of why, the motivation, who they are,” he said.
The shooting had been carried out by snipers who fired down on a demonstration in the city’s downtown area that until that point had been peaceful, the chief said.
They “planned to injure and kill as many law enforcement officers as they could,” Chief Brown said.
“Some were shot in the back,” the chief said. “We believe that these suspects were positioning themselves in a way to triangulate on these officers.”
Chief Brown said it was too early in the investigation to say whether there was any connection between the shooters and the demonstration. He suggested that those involved had some knowledge of the march route.
The protest was planned by Dominique R. Alexander, an ordained minister and the head of the Next Generation Action Network.
He said that the organization “does not condone violence against any human being, and we condemn anyone who wants to commit violence.” “I was right there when the shooting happened,” Mr. Alexander said. “They could have shot me.”
This killing spree will do nothing to improve already strained relations between black citizens and police. It also underscores a continuing problem in America: the total inability of far too many to see the common humanity of others of different races, religious faiths and sexual orientations. Whatever the shooters thought they would accomplish other than killing police officers, they likely set things backward instead of improving things.