DALLAS — Dallas police said late Thursday, July 7th a suspect in shooting of officers at protests in Dallas is in custody, and a person of interest has surrendered.
Police say four officers died after at least two snipers opened fire during protests downtown Thursday night. Seven other officers were wounded.
Police Chief David O. Brown said snipers shot from “elevated positions” during a protest over two recent fatal police shootings.
The gunfire broke out around 8:45 p.m. Thursday. Live TV video showed protesters marching along a street in downtown when the shots erupted and the crowd scattered, seeking cover.
Protests across the country
The shootings occurred as Americans across the nation vented their anger over the police killings of two black men in two days.
They chanted outside the governor’s residence in St. Paul, Minnesota, miles from the spot where an officer killed Philando Castile in a car on Wednesday while a 4-year-old girl sat in the back seat.
Crowds milled in the streets outside the convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where Alton Sterling was fatally shot while police grappled with him in a parking lot Tuesday.
Protesters briefly shut down the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago. In New York, 1,000 people marched down Fifth Avenue and a few scuffled with police officers.
They all came out to vent their rage at yet more slayings of black men at the hands of police officers.
“We are targets!” LaRhonda Talley said in an impassioned speech in Minnesota about the danger of being black in America. “We made it across the (Atlantic). We made it to freedom and you’re still killing us. You’re still hanging us from trees. You’re still killing us! Our lives matter!”
Beyoncé pays tribute to slain men
The mighty also raised their voices.
President Obama talked about the shootings, saying “This is not just a black issue.” Democrats came out as a group onto the steps of Congress to show their support for the victims.
Beyoncé, one of the most famous American pop stars, posted a message on her website, saying “It is up to us to take a stand and demand that they ‘stop killing us.'” The singer provided a link for fans to contact their congressmen.
Virtually every major city reported a gathering of some sort. Little violence was reported, but many tears were shed.
Valerie Castile, mother of Philando Castile, told a crowd gathered outside J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School in St. Paul, where Castile worked, that somebody “needed to police the police.”
“It was my son today but it could be yours tomorrow,” she said. “This has to cease. This has to stop, right now.”
She also urged an economic boycott to bring attention to the killings of black men. “The only thing they know is money,” she said.
Captured on video
As has become the horrible norm, both killings were captured on video and posted online, helping the outrage spread across the country at lightning speed.
The shooting of Castile was remarkable — and heartbreaking — because it was live-streamed by his fiancee, who calmly narrated the action and showed viewers the dying man groaning and bleeding in the front seat.
Castile, a school food services worker, was shot in Falcon Heights, outside Minneapolis, when a police officer pulled him over because of a broken taillight, said his fiancee, Diamond Reynolds, who was in the car with Castile, along with her 4-year-old daughter.
“He let the officer know that he had a firearm and he was reaching for his wallet and the officer just shot him in his arm,” Reynolds said as she broadcast the Wednesday evening shooting on Facebook. Later she says, “Oh God, please don’t tell me my boyfriend is dead.”
In interviews throughout the day, Reynolds complained that other officers responding to the scene were more concerned about the officer who fired the shots than Castile.
‘We need justice out here’
As news of Castile’s killing spread, a crowd formed at Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton’s residence and grew throughout the day. Many ethnic groups were represented, including Aztec dancers who said they wanted to show the diversity of the community.
Among the protesters was Michael House, who said he grew up in the same neighborhood with Castile.
“I’m here because my longtime friend got killed by a police officer and we need justice out here,” he said.
Sterling, 37, was killed Tuesday outside the Triple S Food Mart in Baton Rouge, where he regularly sold CDs and DVDs, earning the nickname “The CD man.”
A source close to the investigation told CNN that problems started when a homeless man approached Sterling on Tuesday and asked for money, becoming so persistent that Sterling showed him his gun, the source said. “I told you to leave me alone,” Sterling told the man, according to the source.
The homeless man called 911 and police arrived at the store. Sterling was tackled and taken to the ground, the video shows, and during the scuffle he was shot several times by police.
A law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation told CNN that the officers pulled a gun from Sterling’s body at the scene. No further details were provided on the type of firearm.
The convenience store quickly became the site of protests. Tokens, flowers and signs piled up in a makeshift memorial. Protesters chanted “Hands up, don’t shoot,” the line made famous in the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, about two years ago.
A prayer vigil was held at a church. A minister urged anybody who carried a weapon to take it out of the sanctuary and store it in their car.
In New York, about 1,000 people marched up Fifth Avenue toward Union Square chanting “Black lives matter!”
They didn’t have a permit, but police said they would allow the march to continue as long as it remained peaceful. Video later showed police scuffling with a few protesters but it wasn’t known if anybody was arrested.