DALLAS — Snipers killed five Dallas police officers and wounded seven others, along with two civilians, during a demonstration on Thursday night against police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana this week, the authorities said.
It appeared to be the deadliest attack on law enforcement officers in the United States since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The shootings, only a few blocks from Dealey Plaza, where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, transformed an emotional but peaceful rally into a scene of carnage and chaos, and they injected a volatile new dimension into the anguished debate over racial disparities in American criminal justice.
“There has been a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement,” President Obama told reporters Friday morning in Warsaw, where he was attending a NATO summit meeting, after speaking by phone with Mayor Mike Rawlings of Dallas.
Mr. Obama went on: “Police in Dallas were on duty doing their jobs, keeping people safe, during peaceful protests. These law enforcement officers were targeted, and nearly a dozen officers were shot. Five were killed. Other officers, and at least one civilian, were wounded. Some are in serious condition, and we are praying for their recovery.”
The Dallas police chief, David O. Brown, said that four people armed with rifles were believed to have carried out the attacks. They positioned themselves in triangulated locations near the end of the route the protesters planned to take.
The police took three people in custody. A fourth suspect died early Friday morning during a standoff with police in a garage in downtown Dallas at the El Centro community college, Mayor Rawlings said on Friday morning.
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