DALLAS, Texas, USA (sentinel.ht) – Dallas police became the first, Thursday, to use a robot strapped with an explosive to kill a suspect who had targeted officers, shooting 12 and killing 5, that were securing a Black Lives Matter protest.
The suspect, identified as Micah Xavier Johnson, 25 and an army veteran, was holed up in the the El Centro car garage, with a long rifle and pistol. He was trading gunfire with police and talking to negotiators according to Dallas Police Chief David Brown.
Johnson said he was looking to shoot police and white people and that he was upset about the recent unnecessary shooting of two black and the Black Lives Matter movement according to Chief Brown.
Despite reports of multiple shooters at elevated posts, or bombs planted throughout downtown Dallas, Johnson appeared to be the only threat in the end.
The Dallas Police has made strides in policing in recent years and among major cities, it has a model police force in regard to policing and community relations.
According to the city’s mayor, the unprecedented use of a bomb-strapped robot, that some on the internet are characterizing as a “drone” on the homeland, was due to the level of the threat.
“We saw no other option but to use our bomb robot and place a device on its extension for it to detonate where the suspect was,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told reporters. “Other options would have exposed our officers in grave danger.
The mayor said the suspect was killed by the device, and disputed earlier reports that he might have shot himself.
Dallas Officers who were killed
Officer Brent Thompson, 43, was confirmed by Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) to have been killed during Thursday night’s attack. Thompson, who joined the department in 2009, is a newlywed who married a fellow officer just two weeks ago. He is the first mass-transit officer killed in the line of duty since the agency formed in 1989, according to ABC News.
“I talked with him shortly after his marriage,” James Spiller, DART agency chief, told ABC News. “He was a great officer doing those things that we expect of police officers and this particular case doing what he was supposed to be doing monitoring the protest as well as taking care of our customers at our transit center.”
Before joining DART, Thompson had worked from 2004 to 2008 for DynCorp International, an American private military contractor. Thompson had worked as an international police liaison officer, helping teach and mentor Iraqi police, according to his LinkedIn page. Thompson’s last position was as the company’s chief of operations for southern Iraq, where he helped train teams covering Baghdad to the southern border with Kuwait. He also worked in northern Iraq and in Afghanistan, where he was a team leader and lead mentor to the southern provincial police chief.
Officer Michael Krol was confirmed to have been killed in Thursday’s shooting, according to the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department.
Krol worked in Wayne County jails in Michigan between 2003 and 2007 before joining the Dallas Police Department, according to WFAA.
“We are saddened by the loss of the dedicated officers in Dallas, one of whom was a former member of this agency, and also the wounding of the other officers,” said Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon in a statement. “Those officers made the ultimate sacrifice and died honoring their oaths to protect and serve. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families and also the Dallas Police Department.”
Officer Patrick Zamarripa‘s father confirmed on Facebook that his son was one of the officers killed in the shootings.
Zamarripa had joined the Dallas Police Department five years ago after serving three tours in Iraq with the Navy, his father told the Washington Post.
“He comes to the United States to protect people here,” Zamarripa said. “And they take his life.”
The officer was married and the father of a 2-year-old daughter.
Sgt. Michael Smith, 55, was referred to by family members as “an exceptional father to two young girls,” according to WFAA. Smith had served as an Army Ranger and attended the Lamar Institute of Technology.
Senior Corporal Lorne Ahrens has been confirmed as the fifth officer killed. Arenas was a 6-foot-5, 300-pound former semi-pro football player.
“He was a big ol’ boy,” Charlie Buckingham, Ahrens’ father-in-law, told the Washington Post. “Big as he is, just walking down the street he cut a real figure. I’m sure it helped him in his work.”
Ahrens, who grew up near Los Angeles, was a 14-year veteran of the department.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.