Five Dallas Police Officers Dead; Seven Others Injured in Peace March Ambush

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Five Dallas Police Officers have died and seven others injured in an ambush as a protest over the recurring use of excessive and deadly force against unarmed African Americans turned violent leaving a city and nation stunned.

The violence broke out during a national protest staged to take place in major cities across America. Dallas was one of the many cities whose residents took to the streets once again gasping over the violence and injustice in two separate back-to-back shootings.

As approximately 8:42pm the crowd which had dwindled down to about 200, from the height of the nearly 800 who took part, gathered near the Old Museum, on Dallas' West End, when a well-armed suspect began to rain a firestorm of bullets on the unsuspecting crowd.

Targeting police officers the sniper felled three quickly, as a released video shows bodies lying in the street, and the barrage of gunfire stands as a powerful statement to the violence that broke out. The standoff continued for nearly five hours with Dallas Police attempting to negotiate a peaceful surrender for the single suspect they cornered.

As morning approached the Dallas City Police Twitter account stated there were three suspects, two males and a female. One male and the female are currently being sought.

The official Twitter account for the Dallas Police Department provide a play-by-play of the what was supposed to be a peaceful protest. Posted pictures depict a peaceful crowd with public service announcements on traffic conditions and safety of participants.

"Our worst nightmare happened," Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said during a late night Thursday press conference describing the active shooter situation that had already killed four officers.

Dallas Police Chief David Brown went on to describe the scene indicating the suspects intended to "triangulate" to build an inescapable corral to kill as many police officers as possible.

In a press conference Friday morning the Chief Brown announced that one suspect said that he wanted to hurt white officers, and was upset about the recent police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, both black men. Brown also stated that suspect told negotiators he was not affiliated with any group and acted alone.

"As I told Mayor Rawlings, I believe that I speak for every single American when I say that we are horrified over these events, and that we stand united with the people and the police department in Dallas.  According to police, there are multiple suspects.  We will learn more, undoubtedly, about their twisted motivations.  But let's be clear:  There is no possible justification for these kinds of attacks or any violence against law enforcement," said President Obama.

The gunfire started as demonstrators marched against the shooting deaths of two African-American men by police in Louisiana and Minnesota.

Two years ago a group of white Staten Island Police officers put Eric Garner, a black man and father, who was selling loose cigarettes, in a chokehold, rode his back to the ground and over his protests of '"I can't breathe"' maintained their lock on him. Today his words ring out from the grave. Again we are a nation who can't breathe. Injustice is putting our nation in a chokehold and we are dying.

Our hearts grieve for Dallas. Our hearts grieve for the lost men and women who have been killed by excessive force whose deaths have ripped a hole in the fabric of diversity and separated us as a people. Our hearts grieve for injustice who seems to be doing just fine, while justice suffers greatly and is mocked throughout the world. We are now, again, white and black, a separate people hoping for justice and healing. "I can't breathe" rings out as injustice is strangling us. Violence will alway beget violence, rage will always ignite rage.

Image a modified headline courtesy of The New York Daily News  used with permission.

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