It was the deadliest attack on law enforcement since 9/11, and it was no spur-of-the-moment outbreak. The ambush of Dallas police officers during a Black Lives Matter protest killed five and wounded six more, making it second in terms of overall casualties to the 72 law-enforcement officers killed in the al-Qaeda attacks almost fifteen years ago. It ties for the seventh most deadly attack on police in US history.
It also qualifies as an act of domestic terrorism, at least. Former FBI executive assistant director Shawn Henry told NBC’s Today show this morning that the setup of the snipers was clearly well-planned, and almost certainly involved communication between them for maximum efficiency:
Henry tried to emphasize the peaceful nature of the protest prior to the shootings, but NBC News Analyst Clint Van Zandt isn’t buying it. “Many police … feel like they’ve got targets on their backs,” Van Zandt tells Savannah Guthrie and Willie Geist, “when they hear phrases in these marches like ‘We want dead cops’ and ‘fry ’em like bacon’.” Those protests aren’t peaceful; they’re just not explicitly violent, and there is a difference.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings also tells Today that the shooting suspects are not cooperating. Rawlings says their motive was simple, though — “they wanted to kill police officers”:
Rawlings made sure to focus on the victims of the shooting. Brent Thompson, who got killed last night, is described as “a great officer” who “served admirably” as a transit officer. Thompson got married two weeks ago:
One of the five police officers killed by snipers in Dallas was a “great” man who “served admirably” during his seven years on the force and was recently married, his chief said early Friday.
Brent Thompson was the first person killed in the line of duty in the 27-year history of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit authority.
The 43-year-old was one of five killed by at least two gunmen who carried out an ambush-style attack in the city’s downtown area. It happened during a protest over two police shootings of two black men in Minnesota and Louisiana this week.
“Brent was a great officer,” DART Chief James Spiller told MSNBC early Friday. “He has served admirably during his time here at DART.”
The chief also said on TODAY that Thompson was on patrol duty when he was killed. He was married in the last two weeks.
Brent Thompson’s life mattered.