3:46 P.M.: From Black Lives Matter’s official statement, this rather remarkable line stands out: “To assign the actions of one person to an entire movement is dangerous and irresponsible.” Indeed.
3:31 P.M.: Police chief David Brown with some stirring comments earlier this morning: “We don’t feel much support most days. Let’s not make today most days.”
3:22 P.M.: Johnetta Elzie, a leading activist in the Black Lives Matter movement, thinks there’s a conspiracy afoot. She suggested in no uncertain terms that the Dallas attack was intentionally carried out in order to undercut support for the movement:
From my experience, whenever public opinion shifts to strongly support the movement an act of violence against the police happens.— Johnetta Elzie (@Nettaaaaaaaa) July 8, 2016
I will not let go of the fact that I know cointelpro exists.— Johnetta Elzie (@Nettaaaaaaaa) July 8, 2016
Crying “false flag” is a common tactic of the fringe.
3:12 P.M.: Let’s take a look at last night’s victims, whose lives were so tragically cut short:
2:57 P.M.: Did Micah Johnson act alone?
A definite answer to that crucial question has so far been elusive. In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, it seemed impossible that one gunman could have effected so much carnage. Law enforcement claimed to be on the lookout for multiple snipers. Initial reports suggested up to four, and alleged that they coordinated their positions for maximum damage. As the dust settles, though, the story is changing. The New York Times reports that he “appears to have been the only gunman.” But that doesn’t mean he acted alone:
Three other people were in custody, but officials have not said what roles they may have played.
As noted earlier, police chief Brown made conspicuous reference to the “well-planned” nature of the shooting and used the word “suspects,” plural. So even if Johnson was the only shooter, there are signs that he was not alone in the planning of the attack. Still, more information about these other suspects is needed.
2:45 P.M.: Micah Johnson was a member of a Facebook group titled “AADL – African American Defense League” that regularly called for violent action against police officers. “ATTACK EVERYTHING IN BLUE EXCEPT THE MAIL MAN,” read one recent post. “The highlight of our occasion will be to sprinkle Pigs Blood!” read another.
2:13 P.M.: Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings: “This is on my generation of leaders . . . we have led the next generation down a vicious path of rhetoric and actions that pit one against the other.”
1:57 P.M.: ABC News reports:
Authorities have apparently finished an initial search of the home of a suspect in the deadly attack on Dallas police officers.
Agents in Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives vests on Friday carried several bags of unknown materials from 25-year-old Micah Johnson’s home in the Dallas suburb of Mesquite.
1:49 P.M.: Solidarity in the face of division:
1:39 P.M.: This photograph of Micah Johnson was found on his Facebook page:
As details continue to trickle in, a profile of the suspect is emerging. Johnson, described as a recluse, identified with black nationalist groups, even if he was not officially affiliated with any. His Facebook profile picture, seen above, and his cover photos make heavy use of militant and separatist imagery common to the black-nationalist movement. Johnson also served in the Army Reserves and is reported to have been deployed to Afghanistan as an engineer. And, of course, his comments and actions last night indicate a specific disdain for white people and police officers.
1:31 P.M.: Language being used by Dallas police chief David Brown suggests that the DPD believes multiple suspects, not just Micah Johnson, orchestrated and carried out the attack:
1:12 P.M.: The Intercept is compiling eyewitness video from last night’s attack. Perhaps the clearest view of the scene is here:
12:52 P.M.: Police departments across the country are taking measures to ensure their officers’ safety. The New York Times reports:
Police officers in several major cities have been told or encouraged to work in pairs in the wake of the sniper attack on the police in Dallas.
The Boston Police Department on Friday said officers had been directed to patrol in two-person units, not alone. “In light of the tragedy in Dallas and in the best interests of officer safety, all #BPD patrols will be conducted by two-officer units,” the department said in a statement.
Officer James Kenneally, a spokesman for the department, said both one- and two-person patrols had been used by the department for some time, and that it was not immediately clear how long the new policy would be in place. “I think it’ll be a day-by-day kind of basis,” Officer Kenneally said.
In New York, the Police Department sent out an advisory asking police officers to pair up on patrol, said Stephen P. Davis, the department’s chief spokesman. Police officers in Chicago have also been told to work in pairs, The Chicago Tribune reported.
The requirement is meant to “increase visibility and strengthen officer safety” after the Texas shooting, which a police spokesman called “unspeakable.” Information was not available about how long the requirement would be in effect, the newspaper reported.
12:47 P.M.: No statement yet from Hillary Clinton, but she did issue this tweet:
I mourn for the officers shot while doing their sacred duty to protect peaceful protesters, for their families & all who serve with them. -H— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 8, 2016
12:40 P.M.: For hours last night, tens of thousands of Americans shared photos online of Mark Hughes, who had been labeled a suspect by the Dallas Police Department. Hughes was depicted carrying a firearm at the protest. The problem is, he was completely innocent, and bore the firearm as permitted by the state of Texas. Here’s Hughes on CBS-DFW:
12:21 P.M.: Like clockwork, here’s Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s takeaway:
Attorney General Lynch: “We must take a hard look at the ease with which wrongdoers can get their hands on deadly weapons.”— CBSDFW (@CBSDFW) July 8, 2016
12:17 P.M.: Reports that Micah Johnson served in the U.S. Army, and identified as a black nationalist, are circulating:
A U.S. defense official told The Daily Beast that Johnson served as a corporal in the Army Reserve. https://t.co/wdI5M9EAEy— Gideon Resnick (@GideonResnick) July 8, 2016
12:05 P.M.: Paul Ryan delivered remarks on the House floor this morning about the attack. “There will be a temptation to let our anger harden our divisions . . . The blame lies with the people who committed these vicious acts, and no one else. And as the President said, justice will be done.”
11:54 A.M.: Micah Johnson, an apparent perpetrator of last night’s attack, seems to have been killed last night following a drawn-out standoff with the police, during which he was uncooperative. But the method used by Dallas police to kill Johnson is new. Per the Associated Press:
Peter W. Singer, of the New America Foundation, says the killing of a suspect in Thursday night’s fatal shooting of five police officers is the first instance of which he’s aware of a robot being used lethally by police.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown told reporters that after hours of failed negotiations and in order to not put any officers in harm’s way, his department used a robot to deliver a bomb that killed the suspect. Brown said they saw no other option.
11:45 A.M.: Donald Trump has postponed a scheduled speech on the economy, and released the following statement:
11:33 A.M.: In the wake of last night’s shooting, Dallas police chief David Brown is making it clear that he welcomes peaceful demonstrations. Brown: “We’re not going to let a coward who would ambush police officers change our democracy.”
11:27 A.M.: This video, from an eyewitness of last night’s attack, captures a harrowing exchange of gunfire:
11:20 A.M.: Front page of today’s Dallas Morning News:
The front page of Friday’s Dallas Morning News following Thursday’s shootings downtown. pic.twitter.com/ExIlxEMA9V— Dallas Morning News (@dallasnews) July 8, 2016
11:12 A.M.: The deceased gunman has been identified as Micah Xavier Johnson, reports BNO News:
Police have identified Dallas gunman as 25-year-old Micah Xavier Johnson, who police said had no criminal record and was a recluse— BNO News (@BNONews) July 8, 2016
11:04 A.M.: Via the New York Times:
At least one sniper, who said he wanted to shoot white police officers, killed five officers and wounded seven others in a coordinated ambush at a demonstration in Dallas on Thursday night against police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana, officials said. The sniper was killed, and three other people are in custody, officials said.
During an hourslong standoff after the attack, in which two civilians were also wounded, one suspect told police negotiators that “he was upset about Black Lives Matter,” the Dallas police chief, David O. Brown, said on Friday.
“He said he was upset about the recent police shootings,” Chief Brown said. “The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.”
The police killed that suspect using an explosive delivered by a robot, he said, and arrested three other people. The chief said the snipers had worked together, firing rifles from triangulated positions, some of them looking down from elevated posts in downtown buildings.
We’ll update the Corner as more information becomes available.