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Snipers kill five officers in Dallas shooting protest

The suspect in the Dallas police sniper attacks told negotiators that he wanted to kill white people, especially white cops

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The suspect in the Dallas police sniper attacks told negotiators that he wanted to kill white people, especially white cops, after a recent spate of US officer-involved shootings of black men, the city’s police chief said Friday.

Chief David Brown appealed for unity in the wake of the attacks, which left five police dead and nine wounded -- seven of them cops -- saying, “This must stop -- this divisiveness between our police and our citizens.”

The suspect was killed by an explosive device detonated by police during a tense standoff after Thursday night’s shooting rampage during a protest over the fatal police shootings of two black men this week in Louisiana and Minnesota, Brown said.

At least two snipers opened fire on police officers during protests in Dallas on Thursday night, killing four officers and injuring seven others, police and media reports said, later adding that a suspect had been killed from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Brown told reporters earlier that the snipers fired “ambush style” upon the officers. He said police had the suspect cornered and were negotiating with him. Brown said 11 officers were shot, three of them fatally. Police later tweeted that a fourth officer had died, then a union for the Dallas police said a fifth had been killed.

The suspect had warned negotiators there were "bombs all over the place" in downtown Texas, officials said.

"The suspect that we are negotiating with that has exchanged gunfire with us over the last 45 minutes has told our negotiators that the end is coming, and he is going to hurt and kill more of us, meaning law enforcement. And that there are bombs all over the place in this garage and in downtown," Brown had told reporters.

The US Federal Aviation Administration restricted airspace over Dallas after the shootings.

"No pilots may operate an aircraft in the areas covered by this NOTAM," the FAA Notice to Airmen read.

"Only relief aircraft operations under direction of Dallas Police Department are authorized in the airspace."

The restrictions, which are due to last from 0335 to 1130 GMT cover a radius of 2.5 nautical miles.

According to an AFP report, the police officers were killed as protests were being held in the downtown area over the fatal police shootings of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana this week, the police chief said.

The gunfire broke out around 8:45 pm Thursday while hundreds of people were gathered to protest fatal police shootings this week in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and suburban St. Paul, Minnesota.

The protesters had gathered after a Minnesota officer on Wednesday fatally shot Philando Castile while he was in a car with a woman and a child in a St. Paul suburb. The aftermath of the shooting was purportedly livestreamed in a widely shared Facebook video.

A day earlier, Alton Sterling was shot in Louisiana after being pinned to the pavement by two white officers. That, too, was captured on a cellphone video.

Video footage from the scene showed that protesters were marching along a street in downtown, about half a mile from City Hall, when the shots erupted and the crowd scattered, seeking cover.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement saying he has directed the Texas Department of Public Safety director to offer “whatever assistance the City of Dallas needs at this time.”

“In times like this we must remember – and emphasize – the importance of uniting as Americans,” Abbott said.

The search for the gunman stretched throughout downtown, an area of hotels, restaurants, businesses and some residential apartments. The scene was chaotic, with helicopters hovering overhead and officers with automatic rifles on the street corners.
“Everyone just started running,” Devante Odom, 21, told The Dallas Morning News. “We lost touch with two of our friends just trying to get out of there.”

Carlos Harris, who lives downtown told the newspaper that the shooters “were strategic. It was tap tap pause. Tap tap pause.” The gunshots in Dallas came amid protests nationwide over the recent police shootings.

In midtown Manhattan, protesters first gathered in Union Square Park where they chanted “The people united, never be divided!” and “What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now!”

A group of protesters then left the park and began marching up Fifth Avenue blocking traffic during the height of rush hour as police scrambled to keep up. Another group headed through Herald Square and Times Square where several arrests were reported.

(With AP and AFP)