A U.S. Army reservist who served in Afghanistan, embraced militant black nationalism and professed a desire to “kill white people” has been named by authorities as the lone gunman in a sniper attack on police in Dallas that left five officers dead.
Authorities said on Friday the suspect, identified as Micah Johnson, 25, was killed by a bomb-carrying robot deployed against him in a parking garage where he had holed up, refusing to surrender during hours of negotiations with police.
Thursday night’s bloodshed, which shattered an otherwise peaceful protest denouncing two fatal police shootings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota this week, added a new layer of apprehension to emotional national debates over racial injustice and gun violence.
Seven other officers and two civilians were wounded in the ambush in downtown Dallas. The five killed marked the highest death toll for U.S. police in the line of duty from a single event since the Sept. 11, 2001, suicide hijackings that leveled the World Trade Center Twin Towers in Manhattan.
The latest violence was especially devastating for Dallas, which struggled for decades to heal scars left by the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, blocks away in Dealey Plaza.
But Thursday’s attack reverberated across the country, prompting both major political parties’ presumptive presidential nominees – Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump – to cancel campaign events on Friday.
Police in Cleveland said they were tightening security plans for next week’s Republican National Convention, which caps a political season marked by incendiary rhetoric and occasional violence at campaign rallies.
Other police departments across the country, including New York, Chicago and St. Louis, responded to the attack by requiring officers to patrol in pairs rather than alone.
Undaunted by events in Dallas, thousands of protesters took to the streets in several U.S. cities on Friday for a second day of protests over the deaths of Philando Castile, 32, near St. Paul, Minnesota, on Wednesday, and Alton Sterling, 37, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Tuesday. The protests have been organised around The Black Lives Matter movement.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown disclosed that the gunman cited his anger over the two killings during his protracted negotiations with police.