Sniper Fire Kills 5 Police Officers At Dallas Protest

Jul 8, 2016
Originally published on July 8, 2016 1:15 pm
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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We're following developments this morning out of Dallas, where five police officers are dead, and six other police and one protester are wounded after what had been peaceful demonstrations that turned chaotic and violent. Three suspects are in custody. One suspect is dead. Dallas Police Chief David Brown says the motivation of the suspects was in direct relation to recent police shootings of African-Americans.

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DAVID BROWN: The suspect said he was upset about Black Lives Matter. He said he was upset about the recent police shootings. The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.

MARTIN: That was Dallas Police Chief David Brown speaking at a press conference earlier this morning. He also made sure to underscore that this suspect said he had been acting alone, that he was not affiliated with any organization. To discuss all this further, we're joined by NPR's Martin Kaste, who covers law enforcement, and Wade Goodwyn, the correspondent who is in Dallas.

And Wade, I want to start with you. I mean, we heard there some of what the police chief was relaying in terms of what the conversation was between police in this standoff and this one suspect, who had been holed up in this parking garage. Can you talk about how that standoff ended?

WADE GOODWYN, BYLINE: Well, the way the standoff ended was, I guess negotiations after a while simply ran out of steam and broke down. This suspect had threatened officers throughout the conversation. He said, this is the end. And he vowed that he was going to kill more officers. And I think that was a big part of why the police decided to do what they did, which was outfit a robot with a - an explosive device and roll that robot in and detonate that explosive device and kill the suspect.

MARTIN: And just briefly, Martin, we heard the mayor talk about - bragging really, about this police department. Can you explain how Dallas has made reforms?

MARTIN KASTE, BYLINE: Well, they're known for this approach of community policing, of trying to have some kind of a connection with the community, not just sort of come in from outside. That's sort of a long-term reform idea in this country. More specifically, in the last couple of years, they've been - they've become sort of poster boys for the idea of data transparency, sharing information about police-involved shootings. Since they've been doing that the last couple of years, basically putting everything out on the table, complaints have dropped. And now apparently the murder rate has dropped, too.

MARTIN: NPR's Martin Kaste and Wade Goodwyn, thanks so much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.