DALLAS (AP) – Snipers opened fire on police officers in Dallas, killing four officers and injuring seven others during protests over two recent fatal police shootings of black men, police said.
Three people are in custody, and a fourth suspect was exchanging gunfire with authorities, Dallas Police Chief David Brown said early Friday morning.
The suspect is not cooperating and has told negotiators he intends to hurt more law enforcement officials, the chief said.
The gunfire broke out around 8:45 p.m. Thursday while hundreds of people were gathered to protest fatal police shootings this week in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and suburban St. Paul, Minnesota. Brown told reporters the snipers fired “ambush-style” upon the officers. Mayor Mike Rawlings said one member of the public was wounded in the gunfire.
Protests were also held in several other cities across the country Thursday night after a Minnesota officer fatally shot Philando Castile while he was in a car with a woman and a child. The aftermath of the shooting was live-streamed in a widely shared Facebook video. A day earlier, Alton Sterling was shot in Louisiana after being pinned to two white officers’ pavement. That, too, was captured on a cellphone video. Video footage from the Dallas scene showed 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.
Brown said that it appeared the shooters “planned to injure and kill as many officers as they could.”
The search for the shooters 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.”
Brown said one woman was taken into custody in the same parking garage where the standoff was ongoing. Two others were taken into custody during a traffic stop.
Brown said police don’t have a motivation for the attacks or any information on the suspects. He said they “triangulated” in the downtown area where the protesters were marching and had “some knowledge of the route” they would take. He said authorities have not determined whether any protesters were involved with or were complicit in the attack.
Police were not certain early Friday that all suspects have been located, Brown said.
The FBI’s Dallas division is providing “all possible assistance,”