Snipers in Dallas shot five police officers to death and wounded seven on Thursday, in the middle of a Black Lives Matter protest. A gunman who participated in the coordinated attack died after a three-hour encounter with Special Weapons And Tactics officers.

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund has described Thursday’s attack to police, as the deadliest since 9/11. Law enforcement has already arrested three men related to the case. A fourth man reportedly died on Friday morning, said Reuters.

Dallas shooting
Two Dallas Police standing near the place where five other officers were fatally shot. Credit: Business Insider

Snipers shot at 14 people, including 12 officers and two civilians, said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings to CBS News. The attack began at 9 p.m. local time, while peaceful protesters were demanding equal rights for African-Americans, in the criminal justice system.

Earlier on Wednesday, a white police officer shot a black man in the chest and the back, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The activist movement Black Lives Matter has been organizing protests all around the United States after the Wednesday’s confrontation.

Mayor Rawlings said the three people in custody are not collaborating with law enforcement officials. Federal Investigators are already analyzing the fingerprint of the dead gunman. It is still not clear whether all detained people, including one woman, are related to the attack.

David Brown, Dallas Police Chief, said that attackers using rifles were settled in strategic positions in downtown Texas, where they had access to demonstrators. Police have already searched for explosives in the area but did not find any threat.

People react to Thursday’s attack: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Trump, Celebrities

President Barack Obama condemned on Friday the Thursday’s attack to 14 people, at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in Warsaw, Poland. He said the United States was “horrified” and described the shootings as “despicable.”

“Even as I spoke yesterday about our need to be concerned about racial disparities in the criminal justice system, I also said that our police have an extra difficult job, and the majority of them do their job in an outstanding fashion. We need to be supportive of our officers,” Obama was quoted as saying by CNN.

Obama has proposed a gun reform in the country. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is also calling for gun control in the United States. She said on Friday morning that officers were in Dallas were “doing their sacred duty” to protect demonstrators.

Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump called the Dallas shooting as a “coordinated and premeditated assault.” He said the United States “has become too divided” and called Americans to “restore law and order”. Here is Trumps’ official statement. 

Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott issued a statement on Thursday morning saying he has offered support to Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw. He said events like the occurred should unite Americans.

Americans have criticized the Texas shooting on social media. Singer John Legend made a call for peace on Friday. Television producer and writer Shonda Lynn Rhimes, who created Grey’s Anatomy, described the event as “senseless and heartbreaking.”

Source: Reuters