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Law enforcement officers comfort each other after the funeral services for Dallas Police Sr. Cpl. Lorne Ahrens at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas.

Law enforcement officers comfort each other after the funeral services for Dallas Police Sr. Cpl. Lorne Ahrens at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas.

LM Otero/AP Photo

An ambush left five law-enforcement officers dead on July 7, spreading panic at a protest against recent police killings of black Americans. Here's what we know, and don't know, about how it unfolded, who was involved and why it happened


Who was killed

  • The names of the five fallen law-enforcement officers have been released:
    • Patrick Zamarripa, 32
    • Michael Krol, 40
    • Brent Thompson, 43
    • Lorne Ahrens, 48
    • Michael Smith, 55
  • Four were Dallas police officers, one was with the DART transit police
  • Seven other law-enforcement officers and two civilians were shot, Mayor Mike Rawlings said Friday

The suspect

  • Police identify gunman as 25-year-old Micah Xavier Johnson
  • He used an AR-15 rifle, Mr. Rawlings said. A similar assault weapon was used in the Orlando shooting
  • He had no criminal record, was a member of the U.S. Army Reserve and served in Afghanistan
  • He was sent home after being accused of sexual harassment by a female soldier
  • Authorities said Mr. Johnson amassed a personal arsenal in his suburban home, including bomb-making materials, bulletproof vests, rifles, ammunition and a journal of combat tactics
  • Police chief says that Mr. Johnson wrote the letters “RB” and other markings in his own blood on the walls of the parking garage where officers cornered and later killed him
  • Local police said Mr. Johnson had intentions for a wider attack and was reportedly practicing detonations and the explosive material had the potential to have ‘devastating effects’ on the city of Dallas



Gunfire broke out around 8:45 p.m. Thursday while hundreds of people were gathered to protest against two fatal police shootings of black men earlier in the week in Louisiana and Minnesota. Video footage from the Dallas scene showed protesters were marching along a street in downtown, about half a mile from City Hall, when the shots erupted and the crowd scattered, seeking cover.

Dallas Police Chief David Brown told reporters the snipers fired "ambush style" upon the officers. Mr. Brown said that it appeared the shooters "planned to injure and kill as many officers as they could," that they "triangulated" in the downtown area where the protesters were marching and had "some knowledge of the route" they would take.



Dallas resident Michael Kevin Bautista witnessed some dramatic scenes of the shootings and broadcast live video from his Facebook page. In the video he said he hid behind a tree while recording and that he was safe.

Carlos Harris, who lives downtown, told the Dallas Morning News that the shots "were strategic. It was tap, tap pause. Tap, tap pause," he said.

Amateur video appears to show Dallas gunman


Police pursued a suspect into a parking garage, where a tense, hours-long standoff ensued in which the suspect exchanged gunfire with officers. Mayor Mike Rawlings said the suspect was killed by police using explosives.

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One suspect, identified as 25-year-old Micah Johnson, exchanged fire with police and was killed when a police robot detonated an explosive in a parking garage at El Centro College. Mr. Brown said the suspect told negotiators he was upset about the recent police shootings of black men and he wanted to target officers, especially white people, but that he was not affiliated with any group.

Micah Xavier Johnson had been practicing detonating bombs and planned some kind of major attack even before the sniper-style assault in which he killed five police, the city's police chief said July 10, 2016 AFP/Getty Images

Police said Sunday that Mr. Johnson taunted police during the standoff, scrawled letters in his own blood on a wall and had plans for a wider attack.

Mr. Johnson had no known criminal history, was a member of the U.S. Army Reserve and was reported to be a resident of Mesquite, Texas, just east of Dallas. However, he had been sent home from Afghanistan for reports of sexually harassing a female soldier.

Police chief David Brown said Mr. Johnson "obviously had some delusion" and described the gunman as doing "quite a bit of rambling" at the scene.

Dallas Morning News reported that three people were said to be in custody and not cooperating with authorities.

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Four of the officers who were killed were with the Dallas Police Department, a spokesman said. One was a Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer. It was the deadliest day for U.S. law enforcement since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Brent Thompson, 43

DART said in a statement that 43-year-old Officer Brent Thompson was the first officer killed in the line of duty since the agency formed a police department in 1989. Thompson had married a fellow transit officer only two weeks ago.

Patrick Zamarripa, 32

Family members confirmed that one of the police officers killed in the shoot-out was Patrick Zamarripa, 32, a married father of a two-year-old. His father Rick Zamarripa told the Washington Post his son served in Iraq on three tours with the U.S. Navy, after which he joined the Dallas Police Department about five years ago.

Michael Krol, 40

Also killed was Michael Krol, a 40-year-old officer with the Dallas Police Department, according to a statement from the Wayne County Sheriff's Office in Michigan, where Krol worked as a deputy in the jails from 2003 to 2007.


Lorne Ahrens, 48

Senior Corporal Lorne Ahrens was a 14-year veteran with the Dallas police.


Michael Smith, 55

Mr. Smith served in the military as an Army Ranger before joining the Dallas police in 1989, KFDM television in southeastern Texas reported, citing his sister.

The injured

Seven other law-enforcement officers were wounded, including three DART officers. A DART spokesman identified the three as Omar Cannon, 44, Misty McBride, 32, and Jesus Retana, 39.

Theresa Williams told Associated Press that one of the injured civilians was her sister, 37-year-old Shetamia Taylor. Ms. Williams said her sister was at the protests Thursday night with her four sons, ages 12 to 17. When the shooting began, Ms. Taylor threw herself over her sons and was reportedly shot in the leg, Ms. Williams said.

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Hundreds of people gathered Thursday night in Dallas and several other cities to protest two recent fatal police shootings of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana.
Wednesday, July 6 - Minnesota
A Minnesota officer on Wednesday fatally shot 32-year-old Philando Castile in his car while he reached for his license during a routine traffic stop, while his passenger girlfriend and her young daughter watched. The aftermath of the shooting, which took place in suburban St. Paul, was livestreamed by his girlfriend in a widely shared Facebook video.
Tuesday, July 5 - Louisiana
On Tuesday, a 37-year-old man named Alton Sterling was fatally shot while selling CDs outside a grocery store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after he was pinned to the pavement by two white officers. That incident, too, was captured in a cellphone video that drew widespread attention.

Demonstrations flare in cities across the U.S. after Dallas shootings


Black Lives Matter, the activist group organizing many protests against police killings and racial profiling, issued a statement on Twitter condemning the attack.

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Federal: President Barack Obama on Sunday urged those protesting the recent shootings of black men by police officers to avoid inflammatory words and actions, which he said would worsen tensions and set back their cause.

Obama said Saturday the gunman responsible for killing the officers was a "demented individual" who does not represent black Americans any more than a white man accused of killing blacks at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, represents whites.

The morning after the shooting, Obama said the nation is "horrified" over the shootings and there's no possible justification for the attacks. Speaking from Warsaw, where he's meeting with leaders of the European Union and attending a NATO summit, the president said justice will be done and he's asking all Americans to pray for the fallen officers and their families.

He also said the nation should express its gratitude to those serving in law enforcement.

Obama calls Dallas shooting ‘tragic’, lauds police sacrifice


State: Texas Governor Greg Abbott released a statement saying he has directed the Texas Department of Public Safety director to offer "whatever assistance the City of Dallas needs at this time." "In times like this we must remember – and emphasize – the importance of uniting as Americans," Mr. Abbott said.

Attorney General: Attorney General Loretta Lynch is calling for peace and calm in the wake of the attack on police officers in Dallas, saying that violence is never the answer. Lynch said Friday at the Justice Department in Washington that it has been a week of heartbreak and loss for the nation. Lynch says the spate of violence can't be allowed to "precipitate a new normal." Calling the Dallas attack "an unfathomable tragedy," she says those concerned about suspect killings by police should not be discouraged "by those who use your lawful actions as a cover for their heinous violence."

Dallas Police:

Dallas police chief: ‘We are hurting’


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With reports from Leyland Cecco, Mahnoor Yawar, Evan Annett, Reuters and The New York Times.


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