A lone gunman opened fire at the Dallas police headquarters early Saturday morning, authorities said, leading to a standoff that has continued for several hours.
The suspect — a white man who remains unidentified — was shot by a sniper at around 5 a.m. and authorities are trying to determine if the individual is still alive, Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown said at a news conference Saturday morning. Brown said the shooter remains inside a van, but police are not approaching until they can confirm the vehicle is not rigged with explosives.
Police said that the gunfire began at about 12:30 a.m. outside the police headquarters at 1400 South Lamar Street. Witnesses reported seeing what appeared to be multiple people firing automatic weapons at the police station, authorities said.
No officers were injured, Brown said.
“He could have easily struck a civilian, but we think his intent was to strike officers,” he said. “He didn’t care when officers confronted him. He shot at officers just as freely as he was able to.”
As officers arrived, the gunman or gunmen rammed a police car with what witnesses described as an armored vehicle, shooting at the officers and other police cars before officers returned fire.
Brown said there have been no reported injures, but throughout the ordeal his officers were seconds from being hurt or killed. He said police still don’t know what type of gun was used in the attack.
“You see bullet holes in the squad cars and bullet holes in the doors that officers were standing behind, but no injuries,” he said. “Its been a blessing.”
After the armored vehicle fled the scene, police say they chased it to the parking lot of a Jack in the Box less than 15 minutes after the initial gunfire. Another firefight ensued, but no officers were injured during that shooting.
A standoff began that has continued through the night and into the morning, and police said the SWAT team used a rifle to disabled the armored vehicle.
One suspected gunman identified himself as James Boulware, police said, but authorities cautioned that they have not confirmed that is the person’s name. This person also told police he was injured, but they said they have not confirmed that either.
“The suspect has told our negotiators that we took his child and we accused him of being a terrorist and that he’s going to blow us up,” Brown said. “And then [he] cut off negotiations.”
Still, Brown said police could not confirm a motive.
The Dallas police have not received any specific threats leading up to this attack, Brown said, but he said there have been threats “against law enforcement across the country for some time now.”
In addition to the gunfire, authorities also reported four bags with possible explosives left outside of the police headquarters. Police later said they had found two explosive devices, including one bag that contained pipe bombs, and said shortly after 6 a.m. local time that they had cleared the suspicious bags near the headquarters.
Residents were evacuated from their homes near the police building, and authorities said they would not be allowed to return home until the area had been checked for any other explosive devices.
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