The 2016 Dallas Sniper Attack

Officers taking cover during the shooting.
Officers taking cover during the shooting.

On July 7, 2016, Micah Xavier Johnson ambushed and fired upon a group of police officers in Dallas, Texas, killing five officers and injuring nine others. Two civilians were also wounded. Johnson was an Army Reserve Afghan War veteran who was reportedly angry over police shootings of black men and stated that he wanted to kill white people, especially white police officers. The shooting happened at the end of a peaceful Black Lives Matter-organized protest against police killings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, which had occurred in the preceding days.

Following the shooting, Johnson fled inside a building on the campus of El Centro College. Police followed him there, and a standoff ensued. In the early hours of July 8, police killed Johnson with a bomb attached to a remote control bomb disposal robot. It was the first time U.S. law enforcement used a robot to kill a suspect.

The shooting was the deadliest incident for U.S. law enforcement since the September 11 attacks, surpassing two related March 2009 shootings in Oakland, California and a November 2009 ambush shooting in Lakewood, Washington; both incidents killed four officers.

Background

A Black Lives Matter protest was organized in Dallas by the Next Generation Action Network in response to the killings of two men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, by police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota, respectively, days before. The Dallas protest was one of several held across the United States on the night of July 7. Around 800 protesters were involved, and around 100 police officers were assigned to protect the event and the surrounding area.

Events

Most of the events happened in the streets and buildings around El Centro College, which forms a city block composed of multiple buildings. The block is bordered by Main Street on the south where the protest march was taking place; Lamar Street to the east from where Johnson initiated the shooting spree; and Elm Street to the north where Johnson eventually entered the college.

Main Street shootings

Around 8:58 p.m. Johnson parked his SUV sideways on Lamar Street, in front of the east entrance to the college, at Building A, and left the vehicle emergency lights blinking. At the time, the street had been cleared out in anticipation of the protest. Taking cover at street level, he began shooting at groups of police and protesters who were gathered on Main Street. Johnson was believed to have talked to three of the officers he shot before he first opened fire.

Three officers were killed in the initial gunfire, while at least three others and a civilian were injured. Eleven officers fired back. During the shooting, officers, unaware where the shots were coming from, scrambled to block intersections and were exposed to gunfire as a result.

Immediately afterwards, Johnson made his way north on Lamar Street, encountering Officer Brent Thompson along the way. A civilian recorded video of the encounter from his hotel balcony on Lamar Street. The video showed Johnson, clad in tactical clothing and armed with a rifle, loading his rifle and firing indiscriminately to draw officers near his position. When Thompson approached a corner, Johnson engaged him in a gunfight, forcing Thompson to take cover behind a concrete pillar. Johnson fired towards one side of the pillar, then ran over to the other side, ambushed Thompson, and shot him multiple times from behind at point-blank range, killing him.

El Centro College shootout

Johnson, now injured during the firefight, attempted to enter the Lamar Street entrance of the college by shooting out the glass door but was unable to make his way in. He wounded two campus police officers who were near the doorway inside the building. One was shot in the stomach underneath his bulletproof vest (with the bullet not being discovered until three weeks later), while the other was hit by flying glass in the legs. Johnson then made his way to Elm Street where he shot out another glass door and entered the college unseen; he then made his way to Building B. Hearing the shattering glass, one of the injured campus officers, Corporal Bryan Shaw, made his way through the building and discovered a trail of blood leading to a stairwell. Accompanied by another police officer, Shaw entered the stairwell and was met with a hail of gunfire coming from above. Unable to see Johnson, he held his fire and retreated with the other officer.

Afterwards, Johnson made his way along a mezzanine between the school’s second-floor dining area and third-floor library, but came onto a dead end of windows facing down onto Elm Street. He shot out multiple windows and fired repeatedly at officers on Elm Street. He hit Michael Smith, a police officer standing in front of a 7-Eleven, killing him and shattering the store-front glass. Officers began entering the college, sealing escape routes from the building, and evacuating students and teachers in the building, including those on a floor above Johnson, through a different stairwell.

Approaching Johnson on the second floor near the library, officers found him secured behind a corner firing intermittently. He was in an area filled with offices and the school’s computer servers, with only two doors leading to where he was positioned, and a hallway about 30 feet (9.1 m) long separating him from SWAT members. At least 200 gunshots were believed to have been fired by Johnson and SWAT officers in that area during the standoff.

Standoff and shooter’s death

Officers opened negotiations for surrender but Johnson said he would speak to black police officers only. He also said that he acted alone and was not part of any group. According to Chief Brown, Johnson appeared delusional during his standoff, “We had negotiated with him for about two hours, and he just basically lied to us, playing games, laughing at us, singing, asking how many did he get and that he wanted to kill some more.” By about 2:30 a.m., Chief Brown saw no possibility of negotiating further and made the decision to use a bomb disposal remote control vehicle armed with about 1 pound (0.45 kilograms) of C-4 explosive. The plan was to move the robot to a point against a wall facing Johnson and then detonate the explosives. Johnson saw the robot approaching and fired repeatedly at it in an attempt to stop it. However, the robot exploded as intended, killing Johnson immediately. The robot, while sustaining damage to its extended arm, was still functional.

It was later discovered that Johnson scrawled the letters “RB” in his own blood while in the college, apparently after being wounded while making his way up a stairwell. The meaning of “RB” and other markings made by Johnson was unclear, and investigators subsequently attempted to discern its meaning.

Chief Brown said that during negotiations, Johnson declared he had placed explosives in downtown Dallas. A sweep of downtown Dallas found no presence of explosives.

Victims

Five officers were killed, and nine others and two civilians were injured.

Most of the victims were shot during the protests, and at least one other during a shootout. The dead comprised four Dallas Police Department (DPD) officers and one Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) officer. Four of the injured officers were from DPD, three were from DART, and two were from El Centro College. Seven of the injured officers were treated at Parkland Memorial Hospital. Two officers underwent surgery. One civilian was shot in the back of the leg, breaking her tibia.

The five victims
The five victims

The officers killed were identified as:

  • DPD Senior Cpl. Lorne Ahrens, age 48, who had been with the department since 2002.
  • DPD Officer Michael Krol, 40, who had been with the department since 2007.
  • DPD Sgt. Michael Smith, 55, a former Army Ranger who had been with the department since 1989.
  • DART Officer Brent Thompson, 43, a former Marine who had been with the department since 2009. Thompson was the first DART officer to be killed in the line of duty since the department’s inception in 1989.
  • DPD Officer Patricio “Patrick” Zamarripa, 32, a former Navy sailor and Iraq War veteran who had been with the department since 2011.

This was the deadliest single incident for law enforcement officers in the United States since 72 died in the September 11 attacks, surpassing two 2009 shootings in Lakewood, Washington, and Oakland, California, where four officers each were killed.

Perpetrator

Early life and education

Micah Xavier Johnson (c. 1991 – July 8, 2016) was born in Mississippi and raised in Mesquite, Texas. He once described his childhood as “stressful” during a VA visit on August 15, 2014, but further details were redacted on the visit report. When he was four, his parents divorced.

Micah Xavier Johnson
Micah Xavier Johnson

Johnson transferred into John Horn High School when he was 17 and participated in its Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program, according to the Mesquite Independent School District. He struggled academically, graduating in 2009 with a 1.98 grade-point average and a ranking of 430 out of 453 students in his class.

In the spring of 2011, he enrolled in four classes at Richland College, but never completed any of them. Investigators believed that Johnson had access to El Centro College through his enrollment at Richland, citing his pre-planned and coordinated movements throughout Building B.

Military service

Immediately after high school, Johnson enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve and served from March 2009 to April 2015 as a 12W carpentry and masonry specialist. According to Justin Garner, a high-school friend and classmate who later served alongside Johnson in the same unit, Johnson lacked proficiency in certain required technical skills, such as marksmanship.

Johnson was activated at the rank of private first class in September 2013 in support of the War in Afghanistan, where he was deployed from November 2013 to July 2014 with the 420th Engineer Brigade. He completed basic training, which required qualification on handling of an M16 rifle or M4 carbine, basic rifles for U.S. military personnel.

People who knew Johnson during his time in the Army described him as openly religious and often socializing with white soldiers. A squad leader, who trained Johnson in tactical maneuvers and protection in 2009 and 2010, described him as “klutzy”, “goofy sometimes”, and “a nice guy”, but also quiet and unmotivated. Documents released by the Army on July 29 detailed early signs of disturbing behavior being exhibited by him, but specific details were redacted. They also said that while Johnson was sociable, he was generally described by soldiers as a loner who sometimes ate his lunch in a vehicle alone while the rest of his unit ate outside together.

Discharge

On May 1, 2014, during his deployment, he was accused of sexual harassment by a female soldier, who sought a protective order against him and said that he needed mental health counseling. The accusation was made after the soldier reported four pairs of women’s underwear missing from her laundry bag. A “health and welfare inspection” of soldiers’ rooms found one pair in Johnson’s quarters, while a soldier discovered the remaining three in Johnson’s pocket. Upon being confronted about it, Johnson fled with the undergarments and attempted to dispose of them in a nearby dumpster. He then lied that a female civilian acquaintance gave the underwear to him, but the female soldier confirmed that they were in fact hers.

The female soldier told investigators that she and Johnson had been platonic friends for five years, but had stopped talking to each other. She described their relationship as being tumultuous and involving fights and disagreements. She specifically recalled one incident where Johnson punched out a car window over her leaving for college and severed an artery, then forced her to bring him to a hospital for treatment. However, Johnson claimed that he punched out the window when the soldier missed a movie they planned to see together, and added that he had been under stress from his job and turbulent home life at the time.

According to the soldier, Johnson asked her for a pair of her underwear before the May 1 incident, but she declined. Also, during a Facebook conversation with her, Johnson mentioned “tying her down and having her face down on the bed” but then claimed the statement was a joke. Though she told him that rape was “never a joke” and to stop contacting her, the soldier did not report him for harassment at the time because she was used to that kind of rhetoric, as she was frequently around men at home and work. Though the May 1 incident did not meet the Army’s criteria for sexual harassment, investigators found that Johnson’s sexually suggestive comments to the female soldier met said criteria.

Following the inspection, he was disarmed under the recommendation of his platoon sergeant, who felt he posed a potential threat. Another Army official later described the action as unusual, as Johnson did not appear to be visibly agitated or a threat to himself or others at the time. Johnson was then placed under 24-hour escort, which was reportedly a shameful and ostracizing experience, before being temporarily moved to Bagram Airfield on May 3, but he did not have enough time to pack all of his belongings. While soldiers were emptying Johnson’s quarters and packing his belongings for him on May 14, they discovered an unauthorized single M169 40mm High Explosive Dual Purpose Mk 19 grenade launcher, a .50-caliber round, and another soldier’s prescription medication in his sleeping bag.

Later, the Army sent Johnson back to the U.S., and according to the military lawyer who represented Johnson at the time, the Army initiated proceedings to give Johnson an “other than honorable” discharge. The lawyer viewed this as “highly unusual” because written reprimands are usually done before more drastic steps, and also because the decision was based on a single sexual harassment allegation. On the advice of his attorney, Johnson waived his right to a hearing in exchange for a more favorable general discharge under honorable conditions. He was honorably discharged in September 2014, apparently as a result of an Army error. Johnson remained in the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR), meaning he could be recalled into the Army if needed, and was part of the IRR at the time of his death.

Johnson received the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star, Army Achievement Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, and NATO Medal for his tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Some of Johnson’s fellow soldiers criticized the Army’s handling of the case.

Motive

Chief Brown said that Johnson, who was black, was upset about recent police shootings and the Black Lives Matter movement, and “stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.” A friend and former coworker of Johnson’s described him as “always being distrustful of the police.” Another former coworker said he seemed “very affected” by recent police shootings of black men. A friend said that Johnson had anger management problems and would repeatedly watch video of the 1991 beating of Rodney King by police officers.

Investigators found no ties between Johnson and international terrorist or domestic extremist groups.

An investigation into his online activities uncovered his interest in black nationalist groups. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and news outlets reported that Johnson “liked” the Facebook pages of black nationalist organizations such as the New Black Panther Party (NBPP), Nation of Islam, and Black Riders Liberation Army, three groups which are listed by the SPLC as hate groups. On Facebook, Johnson posted an angry and “disjointed” post against white people on July 2, several days before the attack.

NBPP head Quanell X said after the shooting that Johnson had been a member of the NBPP’s Houston chapter for about six months, several years before. Quanell X added that Johnson had been “asked to leave” the group for violating the organization’s “chain of command” and espousing dangerous rhetoric, such as asking the NBPP why they had not purchased more weapons and ammunition, and expressing his desire to harm black church preachers because he believed they were more interested in money than God. Following the shooting, a national NBPP leader distanced the group from Johnson, saying that he “was not a member of” the party.

Johnson also “liked” the Facebook page of the African American Defense League, whose leader, Mauricelm-Lei Millere, called for the murders of police officers across the U.S. following the fatal 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald. In response to the police killing of Alton Sterling, the organization had “posted a message earlier in the week encouraging violence against police”.

Johnson’s Facebook profile photo depicted Johnson raising his arm in a Black Power salute, along with images of a Black Power symbol and a flag associated with the Pan-Africanism movement. These symbols have long represented nonviolent black empowerment, “but have also been co-opted by extremist groups with racist views.”

Conversely, people familiar with Johnson during his military service believed he may have been severely stressed with serving in a combat zone. They also said he had little interest in the topics of racial injustice and the shooting of Trayvon Martin that occurred at the time. In an interview, Johnson’s parents said that he was once extroverted and patriotic, and wanted to become a police officer. Following his discharge from the Army, they described him as disillusioned, reclusive, and resentful of the U.S. government; and believed he had been disappointed by his experience in the military. According to a soldier, Johnson had a small breakdown after he began losing his friends in the Army after details of the sexual harassment accusation were released.

Before the shooting

According to an employment application made by Johnson seven months before his death, he worked in a Jimmy John’s sandwich shop in north Dallas beginning in 2010, and took a position as a quality assurance worker at a Garland, Texas truck plant in 2012. At the time of his death, Johnson was working as an in-home caregiver for his mentally disabled adult brother. Both men lived with their mother in her home.

Johnson had no criminal record in Texas. However, the Mesquite Police Department documented an encounter with him in January 2011. According to the report, Johnson walked into their police station “visibly upset and…bouncing from side to side.” He told an officer that a female friend had lied to him and that he had nowhere else to go. He also declined mental health treatment and claimed he was not a threat to himself or others. Johnson was eventually picked up from the station by a friend from his Army Reserve unit.

The Veterans Health Administration released documents in August 2016 showing that Johnson had symptoms for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following his return from Afghanistan. He was not formally diagnosed with the condition, and doctors concluded that he presented no serious risk to himself or others. Johnson had sought treatment for anxiety, depression, and hallucinations, once telling doctors that he had experienced nightmares after witnessing fellow soldiers dying in explosions. Johnson also said that he would hear voices and mortars exploding; and that after returning to the U.S., he would be paranoid, suffer from lower back pain, and experience panic attacks a few times per week. For the latter condition, he recalled one incident at a Wal-Mart that required a police response. For his conditions, Johnson was prescribed several medication, including a muscle relaxant, an antidepressant, and anti-anxiety and sleep medication.

Chief Brown said that while Johnson had been planning the shooting before the deaths of Sterling and Philando Castile, both incidents served as the trigger to commit the shooting and that he saw the Dallas protest as “an opportunity” to attack police officers. Johnson had offered to work security at an anti-Donald Trump rally led by Dallas civil rights activist Reverend Peter Johnson on June 16, but he insisted on bringing a gun, so the reverend declined.

According to police and a neighbor, Johnson practiced military exercises in his backyard. In 2014, Johnson received training and instruction at a private self-defense school that teaches tactics such as “shooting on the move” (i.e., quickly firing, then changing position and resuming gunfire). The tactic was designed to keep a gunman’s location uncertain and create the impression of multiple shooters. Although the school’s website does mention such training as being offered, Justin Everman, the founder of the school, stated that Johnson only took self-defense courses two years ago. Investigators believed that he began amassing his arsenal around the same time, stockpiling guns and gathering chemicals and electronic devices needed to build explosives and PVC piping.

Investigation

Weapons

There were conflicting reports on the type of semi-automatic rifle that Johnson used during the shooting. Clay Jenkins, the Dallas County chief executive and the director of homeland security and emergency management, said Johnson used an SKS. News reports, all citing unnamed officials familiar with the investigation, said Johnson used a Izhmash-Saiga 5.45mm rifle, which is a variation on the AK-74.

The New York Daily News did an interview with a man who sold Johnson a semiautomatic AK-47 pattern rifle in November 2014. The man said he sold Johnson the rifle and made the deal in a Target parking lot. When the man asked the ATF if his weapon played a part in the shooting, the ATF agent who responded said, “All we can say is it was recovered. We’re just finding out everything we can.”

In addition to the rifle, Johnson carried at least one handgun with a high-capacity magazine during the attack. CNN, citing an unnamed official, reported that two handguns were recovered, one a Glock 19 Gen4 pistol and the other a Fraser .25-caliber.

The FBI reported that Johnson wore ballistic body armor with plates during the shooting.

Searches

Johnson’s family home was searched by authorities the day after the shooting. Bomb-making materials, ballistic vests, two rifles, ammunition, and a “personal journal of combat tactics” containing “instruction on shooting techniques and tactical movements” were recovered from the home by detectives. Chief Brown reported that the journal included “quite a bit of rambling … that’s hard to decipher.”

Chief Brown said that recovered evidence pointed to Johnson practicing detonations and having enough explosive material to cause “devastating effects” throughout Dallas and the North Texas area. However, the latter claim was contradicted on July 18 by two officials familiar with the investigation, who both said small amounts of Tannerite, a binary explosive used to make explosive targets for gun ranges, and acetone, an accelerant in explosives, were recovered from the home.

Statements were taken from three hundred witnesses and officers during the course of the investigation. Investigators are examining Johnson’s laptop, journal, and cell phone, along with 170 hours of body camera footage. However, there were concerns about the resolution quality of some of the 90 cameras installed in downtown Dallas, which could have recorded parts of the shooting essential to the investigation. The cameras were part of a multimillion-dollar downtown surveillance system implemented to reduce crime in the area. The Dallas Police Department planned to release surveillance footage of the shooting on August 29, but held it off, saying the release would interfere with its investigation.

Related arrests

Officials initially said two or more snipers carried out the shooting, with the confusion later attributed to ricocheting bullets and the echoes of gunshots. They later said that Johnson appears to have been the lone gunman, with all of the gunshots traced back to him. Three other people were taken into custody by police, “but officials have not said what roles they may have played.” These three included two persons seen carrying camouflage bags and leaving the shooting scene on Lamar Street. They were both stopped and detained after a six-mile chase. The detained persons were all later determined to be fleeing protesters who were either armed or carrying ammunition gear. However, police announced on July 9 that they were continuing to investigate whether Johnson acted alone or conspired with others in planning the shooting. Investigators obtained a search warrant to look for phone numbers connected to Johnson.

One of the people taken into custody by police had attended the protest wearing a camouflage T-shirt and openly carrying an unloaded AR-15 rifle. Shortly after the shooting, the Dallas Police Department (DPD) tweeted a photo of the man describing him as one of their suspects and asked the public’s help in finding him. The police-released image of the suspect was widely shared on social media and broadcast on national television. The suspect turned himself in and was subsequently released after questioning without charge.

Army internal review

On July 13, Pentagon officials announced that the U.S. Army has launched an internal review into Johnson’s military service. The review was initiated after questions were raised about the appropriateness of his honorable discharge despite the sexual harassment allegations made against him, and the fact that the Army had been highly considering an “other than honorable discharge” for Johnson.

During the investigation, the Army uncovered an incomplete amount of information regarding the sexual harassment allegations. The following day, another review was initiated by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command, to determine if a full investigation was made into the allegations. An Army official echoed a statement made by the lawyer who represented Johnson, saying that Johnson’s honorable discharge may have been the result of an administrative error. The same official added that nothing had been found in Johnson’s record that indicated a willingness to commit murder.

On July 29, the Army released a heavily redacted report, which detailed the incident behind Johnson’s discharge but did not address why he was discharged honorably. Another investigative report was released on August 17. On September 7, the Army released Johnson’s personnel files.

Aftermath

DART suspended service in downtown Dallas after the shooting, but resumed the next morning with the exception of West End station. The Federal Aviation Administration issued a temporary flight restriction of civilian aircraft for the immediate vicinity in which the shooting occurred, allowing only police aircraft in the airspace.

As a result of the shooting, local law enforcement officers worked more than $800,000 in overtime to help the Dallas Police Department (DPD). This included $86,000 spent by the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office, $88,000 spent by the Arlington Police Department, about $705,250 by DPD, and unknown sums by the Irving Police Department and the Dallas Fire-Rescue Department.

El Centro College cancelled all classes on July 8. Police barricaded the perimeter and began canvassing the crime scene. The explosion that killed Johnson also destroyed the school’s servers, further delaying reopening. The school partially reopened on July 20, with staff returning that day and students on the following day. Buildings A, B, and C remained closed pending the FBI investigation. A “Reflect and Renew” ceremony dedicated to demonstrating citywide efforts to unify Dallas was held at the college on July 27. Students and staff, along with city and community officials, were in attendance.

Chief Brown said that police efforts to identify the gunman were made more difficult by the presence of up to thirty civilians openly carrying rifles during the protest, which is legal in Texas. Brown said, “We’re trying as best we can as a law enforcement community to make it work so that citizens can express their Second Amendment rights. But it’s increasingly challenging when people have AR-15s slung over their shoulder and they’re in a crowd. We don’t know who the good guy is versus the bad guy when everyone starts shooting.” In an interview after the shooting, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said that he supported changing state law to restrict the public carrying of rifles and shotguns so that the police could distinguish between suspects and civilians more easily during crises.

Following this shooting and another in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, that killed three police officers and wounded three others, local law enforcement agencies across the U.S. began readjusting response strategies, with more officers being paired up in patrol vehicles. Departments also began to increase security and surveillance at anti-police protests.

'Black Lives Matter' supporters celebrating the death of the officers.
‘Black Lives Matter’ supporters celebrating the death of the officers.

Within twelve days following the shooting, DPD received 467 job applications, representing a 344% increase from the 136 applications received by the department in June. In the months before the shooting, DPD, along with other police departments across the country, had been struggling to recruit new officers. DPD even had to cancel academy classes because there were not enough applicants, and also struggled in retaining officers due to a low salary. On August 25, DPD announced their goal to hire 549 officers by October 2017, though some police and City Council officials called it an unrealistic goal due to the department’s strict hiring requirements.

Dallas Observer noted several similarities between Johnson and Mark Essex, a discharged U.S. Navy sailor and Black Panther who committed two attacks against white civilians and police officers on December 31, 1972, and January 7, 1973, in New Orleans. The attacks left nine people dead, including five police officers.

Use of a police robot to kill Johnson

The killing of Johnson was the first time in United States history a robot was used by police to kill a suspect. The Remotec ANDROS Mark V-A1, a bomb disposal remote control vehicle used by police, was rigged with about 1 pound (0.45 kilograms) of C-4 explosive. The decision to kill Johnson with a robot was made after it was concluded that the heavily-armed assailant had secured himself behind a corner at the end of a hallway, with no safe way for police to rush him or reach him with a sniper.

There were various reactions to the lethal use of a robot by police. P. W. Singer, a robotics expert at the New America Foundation, said it was the first instance of which he was aware of a robot being used lethally by police. Seth Stoughton, an assistant professor of law at the University of South Carolina, said, “This is sort of a new horizon for police technology. Robots have been around for a while, but using them to deliver lethal force raises some new issues.”

To this effect, Stoughton said, “I’m not aware of any police department having on hand something that is intended to be used as a weaponized explosive.” He believed that the manner in which the police used the robot was justified due to Johnson being an imminent threat to police personnel and civilians, stating, “The circumstances that justify lethal force justify lethal force in essentially every form.” Security researcher Matt Blaze tweeted that he was concerned about how the control link to the robot was secured.

Reactions

Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety to offer any assistance to Dallas when requested. He also said, “In times like this we must remember—and emphasize—the importance of uniting as Americans.” Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick attributed the violence to individuals on social media, “former Black Lives Matter protesters” and others with anti-police views, later expressing regret for his statement.

President Barack Obama called the shootings a “vicious, calculated, despicable attack” and a “tremendous tragedy”. He also made immediate calls for gun control. The Fraternal Order of Police, the largest police union in the U.S., called for the shooting to be investigated as a hate crime and criticized President Obama’s response, saying that he needed to speak for everyone and not give one speech for police officers and another one for African Americans.

An interfaith memorial to the dead officers was held at Dallas’s Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center on July 12. Former President George W. Bush, a Texan, and President Obama both spoke. Obama praised the Dallas police as heroes and called the killings “an act not just of demented violence but of racial hatred.” In the aftermath, Obama urged Americans not to give in to despair, saying, “We are not so divided as we seem.”

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that agents from the ATF, FBI, Marshals Service, and other U.S. Department of Justice agencies were on the scene working with state and local agencies. Lynch stated that the proper response to uncertainty and fear “is never violence” but rather is “calm, peaceful, collaborative and determined action.” Lynch also said, “To all Americans, I ask you, I implore you, do not let this week precipitate a new normal in this country.”

Leaders associated with the Black Lives Matter movement condemned the shooting.

After the shootings at Dallas, Louisiana, and Minnesota, the Bahamian government issued a travel advisory telling citizens to use caution when traveling to the U.S. due to racial tensions. They specifically advised that young men use “extreme caution” when interacting with police and to be non-confrontational and cooperative.

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