Shots were fired at the conclusion of a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas on Thursday night, according to eyewitness accounts on social media. In a statement, the Dallas Police Department said two snipers at elevated positions shot 10 officers—three of whom died. Two were in surgery and three are in critical condition, the department said. The Dallas Area Rapid Transit authority said at least of its officers were shot and one is dead.
Neither of the suspects are in custody, Dallas Police Chief David Brown said. One shooter appeared to be using a rifle, and other reports indicated the second shooter may be armed in tactical gear. The incident triggered a massive police response to the area. Bus and rail service in the city was immediately suspended.
Michael Bautista, an eyewitness who filmed a Facebook live video from the scene, told KDFW that the protests started out peaceful, but that the area was left looking like a war zone. “The next thing I remember is that we made it to the courthouse ... and instead of getting photos, I ended up getting shot at,” Bautista said, adding that he hid behind a car.
Demonstrators were gathering in downtown Dallas in the wake of two recent police killings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota. Alton Sterling was fatally shot outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge in an encounter that was caught on video. In Minnesota, Philando Castile was shot and killed in his car during a routine traffic stop. Castile's girlfriend, who was in the vehicle with him, captured the aftermath on Facebook live. Both incidents have gone viral on social media and ignited nationwide protests, including in front of the White House and the Capitol in Washington, D.C.