The black gunman who killed five police officers in Dallas last night told police negotiators that he was seeking to “kill white people” out of revenge for the recent killings of black men by police in Minnesota and Louisiana. Dallas Police Chief David Brown said at a press conference today, “The suspect stated he was not affiliated with any groups and he stated that he did this alone,” adding, “The suspect said he was upset about Black Lives Matter. He said he was upset about the recent police shootings. The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.”
 
The shooter was identified by anonymous police sources as Micah Xavier Johnson, a former U.S. Army Reservist who had posted black power messages on his Facebook page. After hours of unsuccessful negotiations with police, Johnson was killed remotely by police with a bomb put in place by a robot.  Police chief Brown appeared to indicate that police are seeking other suspects. Police are holding three other suspects at this time. “We’ve got some level [of confidence] that this one suspect did do some of the shooting,” Brown said.
 
Police take cover from sniper fire in Dallas TX, July 7, 2016.
 
Police arrested a woman near the El Centro College parking garage where Johnson took a defensive position. In addition, two men were arrested in a car that was stopped in a Dallas suburb, Oak Cliff, after speeding away from the scene. The shootings took place during a Black Lives Matter protest march in protest of the police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota. Even after the shootings, Black Lives Matter protesters continued to harangue police. A convenience store was robbed during the protests. 
Amateur video showed an assailant holding a long gun and displaying some proficiency in basic military firefight tactics. According to some accounts, the killer or killers took shots from elevated, distant positions. However, one video showed a killer shooting one cop at point-blank range. Police were targeted by the killers, but one civilian protester was also shot. “We have to be right 100 percent of the time in the way we police this city. Suspect like this have to be right once. They don’t have to work very hard to do cowardly acts like this, to snipe at our officers from elevated positions and to ambush them from secreted positions around corners,” Police Chief Brown said.
 
Brown would not speculate about the motives in the attack, limiting himself to what the killer said to negotiators, including the detail that he was “upset about Black Lives Matter” and “expressed anger for Black Lives Matter.” Black Lives Matter protesters have called for justice for those slain by police in Minnesota and Louisiana but not vengeance. Local protest leaders in Dallas expressed condolences to the families of murdered police officers and also condemned the murders.
 
“All I know is this must stop, this divisiveness between our police and our citizens,” Brown said. “We don’t feel much support most days. Let’s not make today most days. Please: We need your support to be able to protect you from men like these.” Brown emphasized his police commitment to protecting civil liberties and said the attacks on the officers would not change his approach to his job. “We are not gonna let a coward who would ambush police officers change our democracy,” Brown said. “We won’t militarize our policing standards.” The Dallas police department and the Black Lives Matter movement coordinated before the protest last night. Social media showed Black Lives Matter protesters standing next to smiling police officers in photographs that circulated widely. The Black Lives Matter movement has condemned the attack. One of the movement's supporters was wounded in the shooting.
 
In a report about the incident, the Think Progress website – a leftist-oriented news site – opined: “But while pundits and politicians salivate over an imaginary race war, leaders in Dallas were resolute.” It quoted Dallas Police Chief Brown, who said, “All I know is this must stop, this divisiveness between our police and our citizens.” He added, “We don’t feel much support most days. Let’s not make today most days. Please: We need your support to be able to protect you from men like these.”

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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