Review Category : Top Stories

Dallas Shooter Planned Attack for Months, Took ‘Opportunity’ of Protests, Judge Says

Micah Johnson/Facebook(DALLAS) — Micah Johnson had planned his sniper attack on Dallas police for months and practiced combat tactics in preparation, a Dallas official said Sunday.

Johnson opened fire on police during a peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstration Thursday night, when marchers were protesting the fatal shootings of two black men by police officers, one in Minnesota and the other in Arkansas. He killed five police officers and wounded seven others.

Dallas County Chief Executive Judge Clay Jenkins said Johnson had been planning and training, and took advantage of the protest because of the high police presence.

“He knew police would be amassing at that scene and he used it as an opportunity to shoot,” Jenkins said.

Johnson had two weapons, both purchased legally — an SKS rifle and a handgun — and was prepared with many magazines for the rifle, the judge said.

Law enforcement officials say Johnson, an Army vet, used his military training in carrying out the attack.

Johnson found a spot in a parking garage at about 9 p.m., overlooking an area where police were hemmed in by protesters, and opened fire.

Police were eventually able to trap Johnson on the second floor of the El Centro College building, which Jenkins said had been put on lockdown when the shooting started.

For two hours, police tried to negotiate with Johnson, but Dallas Police Chief David Brown told CNN Sunday that “he basically lied to us, playing games, laughing at us, singing, asking how many did he get and that he wanted to kill some more.”

But all that time, Johnson was wounded, and he used his own blood to start to write something on the wall of the room where he was holed up, Jenkins said.

“We believe that he was wounded as he was going up the stairs,” said Jenkins. “We believe he wrote in his own blood on the wall.”

Brown finally ordered the SWAT team to send in a bomb-carrying robot to kill Johnson, and it was detonated at 1:31 a.m.

Law enforcement experts say it appears to be the first time such a robot was used to kill a suspect, and questions have been raised about the ethics of the move, but Jenkins echoed Brown’s defense of the decision.

“I do believe it was warranted because it saved lives,” he said.

Because the college was on lockdown, there were other people in the building when the bomb was detonated, but they were all unharmed when they were evacuated later, he said. He said the charge used was small enough that it would not have hurt anyone but the suspect.

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Black Lives Matter Activist Released From Jail After Being Arrested During Protest

East Baton Rouge Sheriffs Office(BATON ROUGE, La.) — Prominent Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson was released from jail Sunday after he was arrested during a protest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Saturday night, according to officials.

A booking record from the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office confirms that Mckesson was arrested. He was being held at the East Baton Rouge Parish jail, according to records.

Mckesson was filming video of the protest and walking alongside Airline Highway when he was arrested. According to Mckesson, he was charged with obstruction of a roadway.

Upon his release, Mckesson said Baton Rouge Police were provoking peaceful protesters. He was among hundreds of individuals protesting against the shooting death Tuesday by police of 37-year-old Alton Sterling.

Mckesson said he remains hopeful that the Justice Department will intervene both investigation into the death of Alton Sterling and the way police treat protesters.

Mckesson gained a national following after he left his then-home of Minneapolis in August 2014 for Ferguson, Missouri, to document the the police shooting of Michael Brown.

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Protests Continue in Baton Rouge and St. Paul Following Night of Arrests

iStock/Thinkstock(BATON ROUGE, La.) — Protests continued Sunday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and St. Paul, Minnesota, following a night in which 200 protesters were arrested by police between the two cities.

Thousands of demonstrators have flooded the streets of major U.S. cities throughout the weekend, protesting the recent killings by police of two black men, Philando Castile in suburban St. Paul, Minnesota, and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana earlier this week.

Last night, participants in the St. Paul demonstration allegedly hurled Molotov cocktails, fireworks, rocks, glass bottles, concrete slabs, and bricks at riot gear-wearing police officers.

In Baton Rouge, demonstrators knocked out an officer’s teeth, according to police.

Three rifles, three shotguns and two pistols were confiscated during that rally, police also said. Members of the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense were also present, shouting “Black Power” and raising their fists, police said.

The St. Paul protesters, who kicked off the night at 8 p.m. from the governor’s mansion, forced the closure of Interstate 94. Some participants allegedly threw objects and dropped liquids from overpasses on officers below. Others allegedly directed laser pointers at officers.

Police responded shortly after midnight by using what they described as “inert, glass balls and smoke” to clear about 200 demonstrators who were blocking the interstate in St. Paul, which reopened early Sunday morning. Pepper spray was also used on some protesters.

“I guess I wasn’t moving fast enough for him,” Protester Mike Martin said of the clashes with the police in the St. Paul demonstration. “He just got it out and bam, I saw a cloud. It’s burning pretty bad.”

Among those arrested in Baton Rouge was prominent Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson. It was unclear why he was arrested, but he was released on bond Sunday afternoon.

Mckesson was filming live the moments leading up to his arrest.

“The police in Baton Rouge have been truly awful tonight,” Mckesson said on the video, while walking along Airline Highway. “They have provoked people, they chase people just for kicks. The police have been violent tonight. The protesters have not.”

In the video, which was posted online, someone can be heard shouting, “This is the police, you’re under arrest! Don’t fight me! Don’t fight me!”

Mckesson responds: “I’m under arrest, y’all!” The camera is then knocked to the ground.

After being released, Mckesson said he remains disappointed with Baton Rouge police, who he says were provoking peaceful protesters.

Mckesson, who said he was charged with obstruction of a roadway, added that he remains hopeful that the Justice Department intervenes both in the death of Alton Sterling and the way the police treat protesters.

President Obama addressed the recent spate of protests that have taken place across the country during his trip to Spain Sunday, praising the legacy of free speech in America, but warning that violent rhetoric aimed at police officers could result in the Black Lives Matter movement “losing allies.”

“America over time has benefited from free speech,” he said, listing civil rights, union, and environmental movements as examples of how protest has helped to shape America in positive ways.

Obama went on to say that “any violence to police officers” represented a serious crime, and that “even rhetorical” violence could risk alienating the Black Lives Matter movement by causing the group to “lose allies” in its goals to reform.

In religious services throughout the country, Americans mourned the deaths of Sterling and Castile, as well as the five police officers who were slain by by suspect Micah Xavier Johnson during a protest that took place in Dallas on Thursday night.

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Mother Who Shielded Her Sons During Dallas Shooting Thanks Police ‘Heroes’

iStock/Thinkstock(DALLAS) — Shetamia Taylor, the 37-year-old woman who helped protect her four sons from bullets during an ambush-style shooting on police at a protest march in Dallas, broke down into tears Sunday as she told the story of how she survived the carnage of that night.

Taylor said she heard two gunshots when the shooting began Thursday night, and then saw an officer fall to the ground.

“He said, ‘He has a gun, run,'” Taylor recalled, before choking up with tears.

“I was running behind them and I felt the bullet in the back of my leg,” she said, pausing to gather her emotions. “My son went to grab me but I was already shot so I grabbed him and lay on top of him. Police asked was anybody hit, because he didn’t know I was shot. I said yes, but not loud enough because I didn’t want my son to hear. The officer got on top of me and covered me and my son. Another cop [was] at my feet and another [stood] by us and they protected us. I saw another officer get shot in front of me.”

Taylor said that a the majority of the officers who shielded her were white, and said the experience made her “admiration for police greater,” while acknowledging that she always admired the efforts of law enforcement.

Officials say Micah Xavier Johnson killed five police officers and wounded seven others during the shooting Thursday night. Johnson was eventually killed when police sent a bomb-carrying robot into the building where he was holed up, after negotiations to get him to surrender failed, police said.

“Why would he do that?” Taylor said, fighting tears.

“I’ve never heard anything like that before,” she said of the shooting. “Hundreds of rounds. There were shots all around us. I’m thankful for the police because they had no regard for their life and protected us.”

Taylor said that she decided to bring her children to the protest after speaking about the police shooting deaths of two black men, Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota. Throughout the press conference, she struck a balance between acknowledging the need to protest such incidents and expressing her gratitude to the police for their help in saving her life and the life of her children.

“I’m so thankful,” she said, referring to the police. She said she “never stopped praying” for the safety of her four boys.

“Thank you for being heroes,” she said to police Sunday.

In one affecting moment, Taylor recalled being in the hospital, and hearing that her children had survived the shooting, only to overhear an officer tell another officer that a colleague had died.

“I saw an officer tell another officer that an officer didn’t make it, and I [was] celebrating my kids,” she said, stopping to hang her head and weep. “[Celebrating] my kids being alive.

“It hurt,” she said, referring to news of the officer’s death.

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In Religious Services, Americans Seek to Heal From Week of Violence

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — In religious services around the country Sunday, Americans mourned and sought to heal after a week in which five law enforcement officers were killed in Dallas and two African American men died in fatal shootings by police in Minnesota and Louisiana.

At The Potter’s House megachurch in Dallas, Bishop T.D. Jakes told the mostly black congregation that the city’s police officers “have done an incredible job” in honoring the law enforcement officers who were shot Thursday night by suspect Micah Xavier Johnson during an otherwise peaceful Black Lives Matter protest.

“When wickedness raised its head, they stood up for our protection,” Jakes said of the police. He called for unity among “black folks, and white folks, and brown folks” in the wake of the week’s violence, which included the police-involved killings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile in suburban St. Paul, Minnesota., as well as the shooting death of five police officers by sniper fire in Dallas, Texas, as a week marked by violence and protest in America drew to a close.

In Minnesota, Pastor Eric Elikin addressed the mostly white members of the Easter Lutheran Church in Eagan, a city about 15 miles from St. Paul. On Wednesday in suburban St. Paul, Castile was shot by officer Jeronimo Yanez during a traffic stop. Diamond Reynolds, Castile’s girlfriend, who was in the car at the time of the shooting, streamed the direct aftermath of the shooting on Facebook Live.

“The nation is wounded,” Elikin said.

The Sunday services followed a fourth consecutive night of protests in cities around the country against police brutality. Although most protests have been peaceful, the demonstrations in Baton Rouge and St. Paul on Saturday night resulted in more than 200 arrests.

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Gunfire Hits San Antonio Police HQ, Suspect Being Sought

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN ANTONIO, Texas) — While police departments nationwide remain on edge following last week’s deadly sniper attack in Dallas that left 5 officers dead, the San Antonio Police Department confirmed Saturday that gunfire hit its headquarters.

Multiple shell casings were found across the street from the building, and bullet marks were evident on the east side of the building.

SAPD told ABC News Saturday in a statement, “At approximately 9:50 p.m. there were reports of multiple shots fired at public safety headquarters. SAPD officers located multiple shell casings at Grahm Alley and S Santa Rosa (directly across the street from HQ)…Bullet impact marks were discovered on the east side of headquarters.”

Police Chief William McManus said his officers are searching for a specific suspect. “A Hispanic male wearing an orange shirt and navy blue pants was seen running from the scene,” he said.
No one was injured, but police officers inside heard gunshots strike the building, Chief McManus said.

Police vehicles have cordoned off the area as the investigation continues.

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‘America is Hurting’ and Needs to Unite, Dallas Megachurch Pastor Says

ABC News(DALLAS) — The pastor of a well-known Dallas megachurch on Sunday called on the Dallas community and all Americans to unite following a week of violence that shook the nation and highlighted racial tensions.

“It’s not always important that we agree, but if we can at least understand each other, perhaps we can begin the healing process that Dallas needs — that our country needs right now,” Potter’s House Church Pastor T.D. Jakes said on ABC’s “This Week.”

His words come in the wake of the shooting in Dallas on Thursday night that left five law enforcement officers dead, violence that shattered an otherwise peaceful protest organized in response to deadline police shootings of African American men in Minnesota and Louisiana.

“It’s very difficult to be a warmhearted human being and not recognize the pain of a grieving mother, a child who is overcome with grief,” he said. “Whether his daddy was a police officer or whether his daddy was selling cigars on the corner, pain is pain and America is hurting right now.”

The emotional toll of the past week was evident when ABC’s Martha Raddatz hosted a panel of Dallas-area residents, include Police Sgt. Willy Ford and Detective Ron Pinkston, who discussed the tension between police and African Americans.

Ford tried to describe what police encounters are like for men of color, saying, “I think it’s hard for you to understand unless you’ve gone through it. And historically, even I’ve gone through that, as a black male … So until it’s happened to you, I don’t think you necessarily grasp the severity of it.”

Officer Pinkston, who is white, said he views police-involved shootings as a danger to everyone. He said he worries for his teenage sons who he believes are “equally at risk” of violent encounters with law enforcement as young men of color.

“Are we gonna cure all the ills of our country? No. But it only starts if you communicate and [are] having dialogue,” said Pinkston.

Devante Tidwell, an African American and the son of a police officer, said the shootings this week have made him fear for his safety and the safety of his father.

“I laid in the bed and I was like, man, should I start trying to figure out what my dad’s life insurance policy is?” Tidwell said. “And I’m 23 years old, do I need to start to write a will?”

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Prominent Black Lives Matter Activist DeRay Mckesson Arrested During Baton Rouge Protest

East Baton Rouge Sheriffs Office(BATON ROUGE, La.) — Prominent Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson was arrested during a protest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Saturday night, according to officials.

A booking record from the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office confirms that Mckesson was arrested. He was being held at the East Baton Rouge Parish jail, according to records.

And The Associated Press reported that Baton Rouge Police Department spokesman Cpl L’Jean McKneely told The Advocate newspaper that Mckesson was arrested Saturday night.

Mckesson was filming video of the protest and walking alongside Airline Highway when he was arrested.

The reason for his arrest was unknown.

He was among hundreds of individuals protesting against the shooting death Tuesday by police of 37-year-old Alton Sterling.

Mckesson gained a national following after he left his then-home of Minneapolis in August 2014 for Ferguson, Missouri, to document the the police shooting of Michael Brown.

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More Than 200 Protesters Arrested in Baton Rouge and St. Paul Overnight

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — While thousands of demonstrators flooded the streets of major U.S. cities again Saturday night — protesting the recent killings by police of black men Philando Castile in suburban St. Paul, Minnesota, and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana — a demonstration in St. Paul took a particularly violent turn, with participants hurling Molotov cocktails, fireworks, rocks, glass bottles, concrete slabs, and bricks at riot gear-wearing police officers.

And between demonstrations in Baton Rouge and St. Paul alone, there were more than 200 arrests.

The St. Paul protesters, who kicked off the night at 8 p.m. from the governor’s mansion, forced the closure of Interstate 94. Some threw objects and dropped liquids from overpasses on officers below. Others directed laser pointers at officers.

According to the St. Paul Police Department, the preliminary number of arrests is 100 — 50 from the freeway protest, and from from a subsequent protest after the freeway had been cleared.

Police responded shortly after midnight with inert, glass balls and smoke to clear about 200 demonstrators who were blocking the interstate, which opened early Sunday morning. Pepper spray was also used on some protesters.

Baton Rouge, the other city reeling from the killing of one of its residents, also witnessed masses of people taking to the streets. Demonstrators gathered at the convenience store where Sterling was shot before making their way to the Baton Rouge police department and the state Capitol.

According to East Baton Rouge Sheriff public information officer Casey Hicks, there 101 arrests overnight related to the protest.

About 1,000 protesters faced off against riot gear-wearing police officers, while shouting “No justice! No peace!” Members of the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense were also present, shouting “Black Power” and raising their fists. The protests died down a little after midnight.

Two weapons were confiscated, according to a police spokesman.

Among those arrested was prominent Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson. It was unclear why he was arrested.

He was filming live the moments leading up to his arrest. “The police in Baton Rouge have been truly awful tonight,” Mckesson said on the video, while walking along Airline Highway. “They have provoked people, they chase people just for kicks. The police have been violent tonight. The protesters have not.”

Soon after, as the video below depicts, someone shouts, “This is the police, you’re under arrest! Don’t fight me! Don’t fight me!”

Mckesson responds: “I’m under arrest, y’all!” The camera is then knocked to the ground.

Other cities where demonstrators took to the streets:

New York, N.Y.: Hundreds of people descended upon Union Square and marched uptown, chanting “Black lives matter” and “No justice, no peace.” By the end of the demonstration, about 1,000 people had taken part. An NYPD spokesman said there were 20 arrests. The charges were unknown.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Hundreds of people took part in a six-hour march to two police precincts, shouting slogans while facing off with officers.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Several hundred people, some of whom were affiliated with Black Lives Matter, broke off from the city’s 200th anniversary parade to march from Point State Park to the county courthouse.

Newport, Rhode Island: More than 150 people gathered in downtown Newport to listen to Black Lives Matter speakers.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Hundreds of Black Lives Matter supporters marched throughout the city, stopping outside a Broward County jail, where prisoners banged on windows in support. Other demonstrations were held in neighboring West Palm Beach and Miami.

Salt Lake City, Utah: Black Lives Matters supporters gathered in the city’s downtown, where speakers addressed racial inequality and police violence.

San Francisco, California: Several roads and ramps to get on and off the Bay Bridge were blocked by demonstrators, who kicked off their march from the city’s Hall of Justice. And in central California, hundreds of people blocked intersection in Fresno.

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Dallas Photographer Shielded by Police Officer During Shooting Captures the Moment

Facebook/Robert Moore(DALLAS) — Freelance photographer Robert Moore spent more than two hours crouched behind a rifle-wielding police officer next to a parked car when gunfire erupted at a Black Lives Matter protest Thursday night in Dallas.

The officer, whom Moore didn’t name out of respect for his privacy, shielded the local photographer as pops of high-powered ammunition echoed across the night sky. The ambush-style attack left five law enforcement officers dead.

“I’ve never been in a situation where one of the people was serving me so directly and watching out for me,” Moore told ABC News Saturday. “How do you thank somebody like that?”

The officer continued to protect Moore when it was safe to leave, instructing the photographer to stand behind him as they slowly backed out.

Moore captured the moment while he was pinned against the car with the Dallas police officer.

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