Five American police officers have been shot dead by snipers and seven others are said to be injured in a late night firing in a Dallas demonstration.
Ironically, the attack was to protest against the shooting of black men earlier this week.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown told reporters that two snipers fired “ambush style” from an elevated position, making it one of the worst shootings of police in recent US history. He also said it appeared to be a coordinated attack.
The shooting began near one of the busiest parts of the city’s downtown, filled with hotels and restaurants.
The police were heard exchanging gunfire with a suspect in the garage in downtown Dallas in Texas for more than an hour.
According to the police chief, the suspects threatened to have placed a bomb in the downtown area. Bomb squads were called at the spot to verify the claims. A suspicious package was also found near a suspect.
During a press conference, Brown said the suspect has told negotiators that “the end is coming and he’s going to hurt and kill more of us — meaning law enforcement — and that there are bombs all over the place in this garage and downtown.”
There may be others out there. “We still don’t have a complete comfort level that we have all the suspects,” Brown said.
The policemen were shot hours after violence erupted at a largely peaceful rally attended by hundreds of people.
Meanwhile the White House claimed to have briefed US President Barack Obama who is in Poland for a NATO Conference.
Obama made a statement on the fatal shootings of black men by the police this week in Louisiana and Minnesota.
“All of us as Americans should be troubled by these shootings, because these are not isolated incidents. They’re symptomatic of a broader set of racial disparities that exist in our criminal justice system,” Obama said while commenting on the killing of black men by the police.
Citing statistics Obama said black people were far more likely to be arrested and shot by police. He also added African-Americans are 30 per cent more likely than whites to be pulled over. And “after being pulled over, African-Americans and Hispanics are three times more likely to be searched,” said Obama.
(With inputs from agencies)