A City In Mourning: Investigation Into Dallas Ambush Continues
LYNN NEARY, HOST:
It's WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary, in for Scott Simon. It's been a week of violent events that have shaken the nation. Over the space of three days, two black men were fatally shot by police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota, and five police officers died after a sniper opened fire on a peaceful protest in Dallas. NPR's Sam Sanders is with us from Dallas. He has the latest. Good morning, Sam.
SAM SANDERS, BYLINE: Hi. How are you?
NEARY: Can you bring us up to date on the status of the investigation, Sam?
SANDERS: Yes. So it's still very much ongoing here in downtown Dallas, outside of the crime scene, and several city blocks are still blocked off. You know, so far, we have found out that lots of rumors turned out to not be true. There were rumors that there were multiple shooters. That's been disproven. There was a photo floated of a man who was a person of interest. Turns out he was not a suspect at all. So we do know now the idea of the suspect, and they say there's only one suspect right now. His name is Micah Xavier Johnson. He's a 25-year-old - a 25-year-old black veteran. He was killed by a C-4 plastic explosive delivered by a small - a small - a robotic vehicle. Authorities say that Johnson was upset over police shootings of black men. He wanted to kill white people, and he wanted to kill white police officers. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings described his exchange with authorities there tonight.
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MIKE RAWLINGS: This was a man that we gave plenty of options to - to give himself up peacefully - and we spent a lot of time talking. He had a choice to come out, and we would not harm him, or stay in, and we would. He picked the latter.
NEARY: Sam, I know that some of the victims of this - of this sniper have now been named. Can you tell us something about that?
SANDERS: Yes. So seven officers were injured, two civilians were injured, and five officers died. The five officers are Patrick Zamarripa, 32 years old, Michael Krol, who was 40. The first victim ID was a Dallas Area Rapid Transit Officer, Brent Thompson, who's 43. Also, deaths of Lorne Ahrens, 48, and Sergeant Michael Smith, 55, of Dallas PD.
NEARY: What's it like there in Dallas now? What's the atmosphere?
NEARY: You know, it is a city in mourning. I've been out here for about a day now, and there was a large rally Friday afternoon in downtown Dallas. The mayor, Mike Rawlings, said this whole city needs to enter a period of healing and work to have some very hard conversations about race. Lots of folks that I've seen really don't know what to do and what to think. I've seen lots of folks at the crime scene just sitting and looking and praying and thinking. I talked to a teacher here, Nora Woolpert. She was outside the police tape yesterday, just sitting, and she told me that she was just really confused.
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NORA WOOLPERT: I don't know how I'm supposed to be feeling or what I'm supposed to be thinking. All I know is that I can't find a reason to leave, but there is - there's no reason to stay. I don't know what I'm looking at. I don't know who I'm supposed to be talking to or how I'm supposed to process it.
SANDERS: And I've heard that from so many folks here. They just don't know what to think, and they're still waiting for answers.
NEARY: Yeah. I don't think anyone has any answers right now, Sam, but are we hearing anything from national leaders that can be of any solace?
SANDERS: I think there has been some solace from them the last few days. You know, I've been following the campaign for the last few months. And it's usually pretty bitter and divisive, but what I've seen the last two days or so has been very different. It's not the usual arguments over gun control and policing. Those have been absent. What we have heard were calls for folks to come together, acknowledge racial bias and to have those hard conversations. And it's been so interesting to see both sides of the aisle - the GOP and Democrats - talk about race and bias very candidly.
NEARY: NPR's Sam Sanders in Dallas. Thanks so much, Sam.
SANDERS: Thank you so much.
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