Sniper Attack Hits Previously Peaceful Dallas Protest

Jul 8, 2016
Originally published on July 8, 2016 2:15 pm
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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And we begin this morning with grim news out of Dallas. At least five police officers there are dead and six others at least are wounded after snipers opened fire during a demonstration in the city's downtown. The marchers were protesting the recent deaths of two black men killed by police in Minnesota and Louisiana. Around 9 p.m. last night, as protesters were approaching city hall in Dallas, shots rang out through the air. As people ran for cover, many people, including Michael Kevin Bautista, captured the scene and posted the footage to social media.

(SOUNDBITE OF GUNFIRE)

MARTIN: Wyatt Rosser was a protester at that rally last night in Dallas, and he described to our member station KERA how the scene turned from a peaceful Black Lives Matter rally to chaos.

WYATT ROSSER: It started out as what was to me the most - the biggest and most inspiring rally I'd been to in Dallas. The speakers were great and everything was peaceful and beautiful until the end of the march. I was near the front of the march. We were almost back to our starting point and linked in arms whenever I heard gunshots and everyone scattered and ran in all directions. And the moment - it was just kind of chaos, everybody's running, so I guess I should run, too.

MARTIN: Police have three suspects in custody at this point. At least one of the suspected gunmen was cornered in a parking garage surrounded by a SWAT team. All of this is still unfolding. We're bringing you the latest verified information as we get it. NPR's Wade Goodwyn is in Dallas, and he joins us now. Wade, what can you tell us at this point about what you understand to have happened?

WADE GOODWYN, BYLINE: It was an ambush. It had been a very peaceful protest, passionate protest, but unlike in some cities, it was calm, and there was even friendly moments. Some of the protesters wanted to take selfies with the some of the police who were accompanying, and the police did do that. It was almost all but over when snipers began to open up from elevated positions. They were targeting the police officers. Chaos broke out as hundreds of people began to run for their lives.

And the police, who were trying to protect themselves and protect the protesters, some of them were shot in the back as they tried to do this. There were some amazing feats of courage as police officers rushed to the shooting scene and put themselves between the snipers and their downed colleagues so they could get police cars up to them and get them back to Parkland Hospital. And, you know, this has to be the second worst day in Dallas' long history to the assassination of John F. Kennedy in '63.

MARTIN: The police say three people are in custody. One suspect is reportedly dead. They're still looking for other suspects. What can you tell us about where the investigation's at right now?

GOODWYN: Well, I think now they're starting the investigation. They have - I think they feel secure enough now. They've cordoned off a 25-block area around where the shooting was. The rest of the downtown, therefore, is going to be open. So I think they have some confidence now that the area is safe, and that means they can start their investigation in earnest.

MARTIN: NPR's Wade Goodwyn. Thanks so much, Wade.

GOODWYN: It's my pleasure. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.