Eleven Dallas law enforcement officers were shot, four fatally, on Thursday by what is believed to be two snipers who opened fire during a demonstration downtown over recent police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana, the Dallas police chief said.
The snipers fired from an elevated positions on police officers minutes before 9 p.m. CT, according to Dallas Police Chief David Brown. He described the shootings as "ambush style."
"We believe that these suspects were positioning themselves in a way to triangulate on these officers from two different perches in garages in the downtown area, and planned to injure and kill as many law enforcement officers as they could," Brown said at a news conference — noting that some were shot in the back.
A police SWAT team was engaged in a shootout with one of the suspects, and the suspect was taken into custody, police said at around 11:30 p.m. local time. Police had distributed a photo of a person of interest, and police said that person has turned himself in.
Brown said police believe the suspects may have threatened to have plant a bomb in the downtown area, and were in contact with the FBI and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
A "suspicious package" was found near where the suspect arrested was taken into custody, police said.
Police initially said three officers were killed, two others were in surgery and three were in critical condition. Dallas police later announced that a fourth officer died. A civilian was also wounded, authorities said.
Around 800 people were at the demonstration, and around 100 police officers were assigned to the event and the surrounding area, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said. The shooting occurred after the demonstration ended and as a march was taking place.
"At 8:58, our worst nightmare happened," Rawlings said. "It is a heartbreaking moment for the city of Dallas, Rawlings said.
A person at the protest said they were "making our second lap" when gunfire erupted.
"We heard shots, we smelled gunpowder, and that's when everything got really intense and surreal," the witness told MSNBC. "We just started to run and grab kids," he said.
Several hundred people had gathered at park and march Thursday in reaction to the police shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge Tuesday and Philando Castile in a St. Paul suburb.
The demonstration in Dallas was one of several held in cities across the county Thursday, most of them peacefully.
In Saint Paul, Minnesota, a crowd estimated to be more than a thousand strong gathered outside a school where one of those men killed, Philando Castile, worked as a kitchen supervisor.
In Baton Rouge, Louisiana mourners gathered in a "second line" parade for Alton Sterling, who was killed by police on Tuesday in an incident that was recorded on video by a bystander. The Department of Justice Civil Rights Division is investigating that shooting.
"It can be any brother or sister out here. This ain't just started; they've been killing us," Chermicka Brown, a friend of Sterling's who joined protesters outside the store where he was shot, told NBC affiliate WVLA in Baton Rouge.
Hundreds of people gathered in New York City's Union Square before groups marched through parts of Manhattan. Police said they made arrests in Times Square, but a number was not immediately available.
"It's the definition of insanity," Michael Houston, a 20-year-old student in New York, told The Associated Press. "How can we expect anything to be different when nothing changes?"
Both shootings were recorded on video. "It disrupts and it crumbles all of the progress that's been made; it's unfortunate," Andre T. Mitchell, the founder of a Brooklyn-based group that works toward improving relations between the community and the police, told NBC New York. "It just sets us back."
"It's supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. But the way I see it, it's murder first and ask questions later," another protester in New York, Lawrence Amsterdam, 35, told the AP.
There were also demonstrations in Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Seattle. Protests were scheduled in Oakland, California, Thursday.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said at a news conference earlier Thursday that he was "appalled" by the shooting death of Castile, and said that had he been white he likely wouldn't have been shot.
Here you can chat about anything that's not Warriors related.
Life is so gray, yet we are obsess with picking black or white. It is possible to be pro-black and pro-cop. But everyone choosing sides. Tragedies with police brutalities happening way too often, especially to black folks. Yet, there are so many good cops out there as well. We need to really do a better job as a society to understand one another, not rival it.