Dallas gunman Micah Xavier Johnson killed by robot's bomb
A man accused in a fatal shooting spree that killed five police officers and wounded nine other people in the US city of Dallas was a former army reservist who served a tour in Afghanistan.
Police used a "bomb robot" on Friday to end the hours-long standoff in a downtown Dallas parking garage and kill a suspect identified as Micah Xavier Johnson, 25, a Dallas-area resident who said he "wanted to kill white people", officials said.
It remains unclear whether Johnson was the only one involved in the ambush that broke out at a demonstration to protest recent police shootings of two African American men in Louisiana and Minnesota.
At least three other people were taken into custody in connection with the shooting on Thursday night (Friday, NZ time), but they have not been identified and no information has been given on their possible roles in the attack.
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Officials had originally said that multiple snipers opened fire on police, but said they were told by the gunman during the standoff that he was acting alone.
"This was a well-planned, well thought-out, evil tragedy by these suspects... We won't rest until we bring everyone involved to justice," Dallas Police Chief David Brown told reporters.
"We are determined not to let this person steal this democracy from us," he added.
The end to the standoff with Johnson came after attempted negotiations "broke down" and turned into "an exchange of gunfire with the suspect", Brown said at a news conference on Friday. At one point, the gunman had told officials "the end is coming, and he's going to hurt and kill more of us", Brown said.
Johnson had no known criminal history or ties to terror groups, a US law enforcement official said, and had relatives in Mesquite, Texas, which is just east of Dallas.
In a Facebook post, Johnson's sister mourned the loss of her brother and questioned why he had gone to the downtown demonstration.
"I keep saying it's not true... my eyes hurt from crying," Nicole Johnson wrote in a post she later deleted. Minutes later, she posted again. "The news will say what they think but those that knew him know this wasn't like him," she wrote. "This is the biggest loss we've had."
Outside City Hall on Friday, activists said they did not recognise Johnson or his name, and had never seen him at a protest.
"Never in our wildest dreams would we think our efforts to save lives would take lives," protest organiser Dominique Alexander said.
Military records provided by the Department of Defense say that Johnson served in the US Army Reserve as a carpentry and masonry specialist from March 2009 to April 2015, including a tour in Afghanistan from November 2013 to July 2014 with the 420th Engineer Brigade.
Authorities believe Johnson belonged to an informal gun club and took frequent target practice, according to a law enforcement official.
US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said federal law enforcement agencies already are cooperating in the investigation.
"We intend to provide any assistance that we can to investigate the attack and also to help heal a community that has been severely shaken and deeply scarred by an unfathomable tragedy," Lynch said at a news conference in Washington.
"Our hearts are broken by this loss," she said.
In Warsaw earlier, President Barack Obama also expressed condolences to the families of victims in Dallas.
"There has been a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement," Obama said. "There is no possible justification for these kinds of attacks, or any violence against law enforcement. Justice will be done."
KILLED BY BOMB ROBOT'S EXPLOSIVES
Brown said a hostage negotiator spoke with the gunman at length before he was killed about 2.30am. The chief said the attacker said he was upset "with white people" and with recent police shootings. The suspect also said that he was not affiliated with any groups and that he acted alone, Brown said.
"The suspect said we will eventually find the IEDs," Brown said, a reference to explosives. "He wanted to kill officers. And he expressed killing white people, killing white officers, he expressed anger for Black Lives Matter."
"We saw no other option than to use our bomb robot and place a device on its extension to detonate where the suspect was," Brown said, adding that, "other options would have exposed our officers to grave danger".
Brown said reports the suspect shot himself were incorrect. "The suspect is deceased as a result of detonating the bomb," he said.
Referring to the gunman's statements about his intentions, Brown said: "None of that makes sense. None of that is a reason to do harm to anyone." He would not comment about whether the gunman appeared to be mentally ill.
Brown said he spoke overnight with the families of the dead officers killed as well as those who were injured, most of whom have been released from the hospital. He said three officers listed in critical condition are doing better, but that they and the department need the public's support.
Mayor Mike Rawlings said also he met overnight with some of the officers' families.
In addition to police, two civilians, a man and a woman, were shot and injured, the mayor said.
Of the dozen officers shot, 10 men and two women, eight are Dallas police and four are Dallas Area Rapid Transit (Dart) officers, officials said.
"They know the city is grieving with them," Rawlings said.
Rawlings said that when he met with the wounded officers, he expressed support on behalf of the city and also made them a promise: "We'll get the bad guys."