Police in Dallas have confirmed that five police officers are dead, and seven other officers have been injured after snipers opened fire during a protest in the Texan city on Thursday night.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown says two snipers opened fire from elevated positions during the protest, which was being held in response to the recent police related shootings of two black men in the U.S.
The gunfire is said to have broken out around 8:45 p.m. local time, as protesters marched in the downtown area.
Two civilians were also injured in the shootings, which have been described as an ”ambush style” attack.
Three suspects are now in police custody, one arrested following a shootout with a police SWAT team more than two hours after the first shots were fired.
The second suspect handed himself over to police after a person of interest photo had been distributed.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings says the three suspects in custody aren’t cooperating with investigators.
A fourth suspect was killed by an explosive used by police during a standoff in a parking garage.
Police Chief David Brown said at a news conference Friday that the suspect was upset over the recent police shootings of black men and wanted to kill white people.
American President, Barack Obama, who is in Poland meeting with European Leaders, called the shootings a “vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement.”
“Today our focus is on the victims and their families. They are heartbroken. The entire city of Dallas is grieving. Police across America, this is a tight knit family, feels this loss to their core.” – US President Barack Obama.
The march in Dallas was just one of many such demonstrations which took place across the U.S on Thursday night, most of them largely peaceful.
A crowd of more than 1,000 people gathered in St. Paul, Minnesota, where 32 year old school cafeteria supervisor Philando Castile was shot to death by a police officer after being pulled over for a broken tail light on Wednesday night.
His girlfriend streamed the moments after the incident live on Facebook, footage that has now been viewed millions of times.
Just one day earlier Alton Sterling was shot in Louisiana while police grappled with him in a convenience store parking lot.
A parade was held for Sterling in Baton Rouge on Thursday night.