Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Dallas Police Chief David Brown held a press conference Friday morning in the wake of a sniper shooting during a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Dallas that killed at least five officers and injured seven more and two civilians.
Here are five takeaways from the press conference.
1. Police Killed a Suspect with a Robot Carrying a Bomb
Brown said Dallas Police deployed a robot carrying a bomb in the parking garage where a suspect had been involved in negotiations with police for hours. Officers detonated the bomb near the suspect after hours of talks had broken down, killing him. They “saw no other option,” he said.
"Saw no other option." Dallas Police Chief David Brown confirms police used a bomb robot where the suspect was. pic.twitter.com/Fwzcxi2Gqj
— Fox News (@FoxNews) July 8, 2016
That was not the only bomb at issue in the chaos, as rumors flew on social media about the suspect/s having placed bombs throughout the city. None of those rumors have been borne out but Brown said, “the suspect stated that we will eventually find the IEDs.”
“Our hostage negotiator did an exceptional job getting this suspect to talk before he died,” Brown said.
2. Gunman Said he Wanted to ‘Kill White People, White Officers’
Initial reporting suggested there were at least two shooters, and three others were taken into custody— two men and one woman— but Brown said the dead suspect may be the only one. Mayor Mike Rawlings said “We’re not going to tell you anything about the suspects and we’re not going to answer questions,” but Brown revealed the suspect’s declarations of his motive toward the end of the press conference.
“You can’t crawl into the head (of someone who would do this). We negotiated with this person. They seemed lucid during. He wanted to kill officers. He expressed killing white people. He expressed killing white officers. He expressed anger for Black Lives Matter…None of that makes sense.”
3. Brown and Rawlings Were Unclear About Number of Suspect/s and their Descriptions
Brown suggested that the dead suspect was the only shooter, but also said, “We’re not satisfied that we’ve exhausted every lead.” He said they were being sparing with details to help the search for possible collaborators.
“If there’s someone out there who is associated with this, we will find you, we will prosecute you, and we will bring you to justice…We’re not expanding on who or how many. We’re going to keep these suspects guessing.”
4. Brown said Police Don’t Feel Support Most Days, but Need It Now
“Some closing thoughts about Dallas Police officers and DART officers. They’re some of the bravest men and women you ever wanna be associated with. You see video footage after video footage of them running toward gunfire from an elevated position with no chance to protect themselves, and put themselves in harm’s way to make sure citizens can get to a place of security.”
“Please join me in applauding these brave men and women who do this job under great scrutiny and under great vulnerability who literally risk their lives to protect democracy. We don’t feel much support most days. Let’s not make today most days. Please. We need your support to be able to protect you from men like these who carried out this tragic, tragic event.”
5. Brown and Rawlings Asked for Prayer
In the wake of recent shootings, there has been pushback from the political left against “thoughts and prayers,” which activists claim are hollow and insincere compared to gun control policies in the wake of such attacks. Dallas’ leaders, however, declared themselves “men of faith” and asked for prayer to get the city through this time. There is an interfaith prayer gathering planned for noon today in Dallas’ Thanksgiving Square.
“Pray for these families…they are not having a good time trying to deal, absorb this, trying to understand why, and they need your prayers. Please join us in helping us comfort the grieving officers’ families…please pray for our strength through this trying time,” Brown said.
“If you’re at our home or your office or your school to join us today at noon in prayer, to bring our city together to bring our country together, to heal wounds, not create them,” Rawlings said.