DALLAS – Five Dallas officers were killed by snipers and six others were wounded during a protest in downtown Dallas Thursday night, police said.
It is the worst mass shooting of police officers in American history and the deadliest day for police since 9/11, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
Three suspects were taken into custody, Police Chief David Brown said later, and police were negotiating with a fourth suspect who was holed up in a downtown garage and exchanging gunfire with police late Thursday night.
In an early statement issued by the Dallas Police Department, Brown said, "Tonight it appears that two snipers shot ten police officers from elevated positions during the protest/rally. Three officers are deceased, two are in surgery and three are in critical condition. An intensive search for suspects is currently underway. No suspects are in custody at this time."
Police later updated the casualties, saying a total of 11 officers were shot and that a fifth officer had died.
Brown said the first suspect taken into custody was a female who has been in the location of the two-story garage where much of the sniper fire had come from. She had a suspicious package that was being investigated by the bomb squad.
Another armed suspect was still holed up in the garage, exchanging gunfire with police as they try to negotiate his surrender. Brown said the still-armed suspect told police that "the end is coming" and that he's going to shoot and kill as many police officers as possible. Brown said the suspect also told them that there were "bombs all over" the area.
Two other suspects with bags jumped in a Mercedes-Benz, but were stopped on a nearby highway and taken into custody.
Despite the four suspects either in custody or cornered, Brown said he's still "not comfortable" that they have all the suspects, as the shooting took planning and that they used rifles from triangulated, elevated positions around the protest march.
A total of 10 officers were shot during the protests, and an 11th was shot during an exchange of gunfire with one of the suspects.
Officers killed included one DART officer and four Dallas police officers. DART, the Dallas Area Rapid Transit agency, operates buses and commuter rail in the city and surrounding suburbs.
The shooting happened just before 9 p.m. as the protesters were marching near Lamar and Main St. The protest began at 6 p.m. and remained peaceful until the shooting. Several officers were even posing for pictures with protesters as the crowd began marching.
Protesters and police alike took cover when shots rang out during a demonstration in response to recent deadly police shootings across the country.
"The shots were coming from the roof," one protester said. Witnesses reported hearing dozens of gunshots that scattered the crowd. That protester said that officers and bystanders alike were in the line of fire.
One witness said a police officer pushed him and some other protesters out of the way of the gunfire.
"Everybody was fair game," a witness said. "They were just shooting randomly."
The shooting happened as protests were underway about two blocks from Dealey Plaza. Video showed the crowd suddenly sprinting away.
Witness Clarissa Myles said she was eating at McDonalds when the chaos began.
"Everyone was screaming, people were running," she said. "I saw at least probably 30 shots go off."
"I was walking next to the officer who was helping with the protest, all of a sudden I saw six to eight shots," one witness told the station. "It looked like two officers went down."
Another witness who was at the protest told the station he heard multiple gunshots.
"Whoever was shooting had an assault rifle --- and I know guns. The shots were in rapid succession," the witness said.
Video showed numerous police officers crouching behind vehicles. Others approached a location holding protective shields.
Protests across the country
The shootings occurred as Americans across the nation vented their anger over the police killings of two black men in two days.