||This article documents a current event. Information may change rapidly as the event progresses, and initial news reports may be unreliable. The last updates to this article may not reflect the most current information. (July 2016)|
|2016 shooting of Dallas police officers|
|Location||Belo Garden Park,
|Date||July 7, 2016
8:58 p.m. (CT)
|Target||Law enforcement in Dallas|
|Mass shooting, sniperattack, shootout|
|Deaths||6 (including 1 perpetrator)|
Number of participants
|At least 2 snipers|
On July 7, 2016, five police officers were killed by at least two gunmen inDallas, Texas. Six other officers and a civilian were also injured. The shooting occurred at the end of a protest against police killings in the aftermath of the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. One suspect was later reported to be dead following a shootout and standoff with police. It was the deadliest attack on U.S. law enforcement in a single event since the September 11, 2001, attacks.
A protest was organized by the Next Generation Action Network after the killings of two black men, Alton Sterling andPhilando Castile, by police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota respectively. The incidents occurred on consecutive days. It was one of several protests held across the U.S. on the night of July 7. Around 800 protesters were involved in the Dallas protest, and around 100 police officers were assigned to protect the event and the surrounding area. Among the protesters was Democratic state senator Royce West. Before the shooting occurred, no other incidents were reported and the event was peaceful.
Belo Garden Park, the location where the protest began and near which the shooting occurred, was a popular gathering place for Black Lives Matter demonstrations, such as one held after the death of Sandra Bland at a Waller County, Texas, jail in 2015.
Two shooters opened fire on police near Belo Garden Park at 8:58 p.m. A bystander reported hearing 50 to 75 shots. Reports stated that one shooter shot at the police from an alleyway, while another fired from the upper level of a parking building. Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown said that at least two shooters fired ambush style at the officers. Brown added that some of the officers were shot in the back, and that the shooters, having had some knowledge of the protest route, positioned themselves in a way to get a triangulated firing position. Police stated that at least four snipers located on elevated positions appeared to be involved in a strategic cross-fire attack targeting the police.
Following the shooting, a female suspect was cornered in a parking garage at El Centro College and arrested. A second suspect engaged officers in a standoff at the same garage, firing intermittently at them. One officer was injured in theshootout. A suspicious package was discovered near the garage and was secured by a bomb squad. Two individuals seen leaving the shooting scene in a vehicle were also stopped and questioned. Chief Brown later stated that the suspect engaged in the standoff with police had declared that the end was near, his intentions to kill more law enforcement personnel, and that there were explosives placed all over the garage and downtown Dallas. The standoff eventually ended after the suspect was killed by an explosive device deployed by a police-controlled robot.
A bystander, who recorded cell phone video of the event from his hotel balcony, reported observing a shooter clad in tactical clothing and armed with a rifle. The bystander stated that the shooter loaded his rifle and began firing indiscriminately to draw officers near his position. When one officer approached a corner, the shooter ambushed him and shot him multiple times at point-blank range, killing him.
Eleven police officers were shot by the snipers, ten of them during the protests and the eleventh during a shootout with a suspect. One Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) officer and two Dallas Police Department (DPD) officers died at the scene, and three other officers were in critical condition. Two DPD officers later died in the hospital. Some of the injured officers were transported to Parkland Memorial Hospital. Two officers underwent surgery. One civilian was also struck by gunfire.
The deceased DART officer was identified as 43-year-old Brent Thompson, who had been with the department since 2009. Thompson was the first DART officer to be killed in the line of duty since the department’s inception in 1989.
The deaths of five officers made this the deadliest incident against police officers since the September 11 attacks, surpassing a 2009 shooting in Lakewood, Washington and a 2009 shooting in Oakland where four officers each were killed.
DART service in downtown Dallas was suspended after the shooting. The Federal Aviation Administration issued atemporary flight restriction of civilian aircraft for the immediate vicinity in which the shooting occurred, allowing only police aircraft in the airspace. El Centro College cancelled all classes on July 8 and closed down for the day.