DALLAS, Texas -- FOX6's Ben Handelman was in Dallas Friday, July 8th -- less than 24 hours after a sniper opened fire during what was a peaceful protest on the heels of the fatal shooting of two African-American men by police officers in Louisiana (Alton Sterling) and Minnesota (Philando Castile) on Thursday, July 7th. Twelve police officers were shot, and five lost their lives on the deadliest day for law enforcement since 9/11. Two civilians were also hurt.
Investigators identified the dead attacker as 25-year-old Micah Xavier Johnson of Mesquite, Texas, a military veteran who'd served in Afghanistan with no criminal record.
Police said they searched his home Friday afternoon and found bomb-making materials, ballistic vests, rifles, ammunition and a personal journal of combat tactics. Investigators are analyzing information in the journal, a police statement said.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said Friday afternoon that investigators determined Johnson was "the lone shooter in this incident," confirming what federal officials had told CNN.
Before authorities killed him with an explosive, ending a standoff that lasted for hours, Johnson told negotiators more officers were going to get hurt, and that bombs had been planted all over downtown.
"This was a well-planned, well-thought out, evil tragedy," Dallas Police Chief David Brown said.
"We are horrified over these events and we stand united with the people and the police department in Dallas," President Barack Obama said.
On Friday night, Mayor Rawlings had declared the city safe -- but much of downtown was still blocked off as this investigation continues.
There was a heavy police presence Friday night in the area where this shooting happened.
FOX6's Ben Handelman arrived in Dallas on Friday afternoon, and the first thing he saw when he stepped off the plane was a large poster of Dallas, with the words: "Dallas Strong" written on it.
Ben said the Dallas area was very quiet Friday night -- with people coming to the scene to pay their respects to the officers who lost their lives.
Earlier Friday, there was a large prayer service in Dallas.
"Never in our wildest dreams would we have imagined that five police officers would be dead this morning. Hate destroys. Love builds up. Hate seeks to tear down. Love always seeks to build up," Rev. Jeff Hood said.
Those in Dallas told Ben they cannot believe something like this happened in their city -- a city they called "a city of opportunity."
That's exactly why a young woman from Wisconsin moved to Dallas -- to take a job with the Dallas Police Department.
23-year-old Gretchen Rocha graduated from the Dallas Police Academy in June -- and was one of the officers injured Thursday night.
She is recovering from two shrapnel wounds, and has been released from the hospital.
FOX6 News has learned a fellow officer died in the vehicle Rocha was driving.
Rocha's sister spoke from Wisconsin Friday:
"She went to the hospital for somebody else and she thought it was their blood on her and she didn`t realize she was bleeding. I hadn`t really thought about the possibility of her not coming home before. And now I guess that`ll be on my mind when she goes back," Katrina Schwartz said.
This was the deadliest single incident for U.S. law enforcement since September 11, 2001.