USA: African-American sniper kills five white police officers in Dallas after two African-American civilians killed by police elsewhere
An armed African-American sniper identified as Micah Xavier Johnson, 25, of Mesquite, Texas, a military veteran who served in Afghanistan, killed five police officers in Dallas, Texas and injured six more during an otherwise peaceful demonstration on 7 July against police violence being committed against African-Americans. Police also arrested three other people in connection with the attack, one of them female.
Johnson was eventually surrounded by police in a garage in the city center. CNN reported that police announced they had killed him.
US President Barack Obama has condemned the incident. Johnson shot at the officers from elevated locations in the garage complex.
Police: Shooting was racially motivated and aimed at white officers
Prior to being killed, Johnson reportedly told police he does not belong to any group and acted alone. His motivation was apparently racial.
Johnson is said to have told police that he wanted to kill white officers. Over the course of several hours of discussion with a police negotiator, he said
he was fed up with police violence against members of the African-American community in the USA and wanted to kill white people, mainly members of the police.
After negotiations failed, police decided to stop Johnson, who had barricaded himself in the garage, from continuing his rampage and sent a police robot armed with explosives to his location, which was then detonated and caused his death. Dallas Police Chief David Brown refuted reports that the sniper had committed suicide.
At the end of their press conference yesterday, Brown and Mayor of Dallas Mike Rawlings called on the public to collaborate with police and express support for them. "We need your support to protect you from those who are responsible for these tragic events," Brown said.
Security units also searched the area for the explosives that Johnson had threatened to detonate after officers surrounded him in the garage. According to a police spokesperson, none were found.
Speaking at the NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland, US President Barack Obama said the attack in Dallas was "brutal, planned in cold blood and despicable". He said he had already spoken with the Mayor of Dallas, offered him aid and expressed his condolences.
Demonstration against police using deadly force on African-Americans
In Dallas and in other places throughout the USA, demonstrations have been held in connection with two separate incidents of African-American civilians being killed during interactions with police, one on 5 July and one on 6 July. The Dallas protest was absolutely peaceful up until the moment the first shots were heard.
The shootings occurred on Thursday at around 20:45 local time (or 3:45 AM Central European Summer Time on 8 July). One eyewitness who observed the scene from his apartment told CNN he saw one of the officers shot dead.
The eyewitness said he believed the sniper had planned the attack carefully. "It looked like an execution. He was positioned behind the officer, who was already lying on the ground, and he shot him maybe three or four times in the back," he said.
A female civilian was also injured during the incident. The Associated Press reported that she was attempting to protect her sons during the shooting.
Governor of Minnesota: Police approach was racist
The US Department of Justice began an investigation on Thursday into the two separate deaths of the African-American civilians during the police interventions, one of which occurred in Louisiana and one of which occurred in Minnesota. On Wednesday, 6 July, Philand Castile was killed by several police gunshots during a routine traffic stop for a broken vehicle light.
Castile's girlfriend filmed the police intervention and posted the video footage to Facebook, sparking public outrage. The Governor of Minnesota called the approach taken by the officers racist.
The day before, in Louisiana, African-American Alton Sterling was shot dead by police. An anonymous tip that he was armed began their intervention against him.
Police in the USA report two more attacks against officers
After the massacre in Dallas, police announced that two more attacks against officers had been committed. Both took place in the state of Georgia, one in a suburb of Atlanta and another in the southern town of Valdost.
The Associated Press reported on 8 July that there was no information about injuries from either attack yet. In the Atlanta suburb of Roswell, a drive-by shooting was committed against an officer on patrol; police apprehended the shooter after a brief chase, during which the shooter crashed his vehicle.
The 21-year-old shooter did not manage to hit either the officer or his vehicle. Roswell Police said they did not yet know the motive for the shooting and that the man was not saying much to detectives.
In the southern town of Valdost, a police officer exchanged gunfire with an assailant after arriving at the scene to investigate a report of property damage. The incident took place in a parking lot in front of an apartment complex and authorities said it was not yet clear whether any injuries had resulted.
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