US military veteran aimed to 'kill white people' in Dallas police ambush

At Least Five Police Killed In Dallas Shooting

DALLAS (Reuters) - A black U.S. military veteran of the Afghan war who said he wanted to "kill white people" opened fire in a sniper attack in which five police officers were slain at a protest decrying police shootings of black men, officials said on Friday.

Seven other police officers and two civilians were wounded in the ambush in downtown Dallas on Thursday night, officials said. Police killed the gunman, identified by authorities as 25-year-old Micah Johnson, with a bomb-carrying robot after cornering him in a parking lot, ending an hours-long standoff.

The sound of gunfire sent a panicked crowd of hundreds of protesters screaming and running for their lives near the end of an otherwise peaceful march to protest police killings of black men this week in Minnesota and Louisiana. Police officers patrolling the demonstration at the time believed they were under attack by several gunmen.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told reporters in New York that "at this time, there appears to have been one gunman, with no known links to or inspiration from any international terrorist organization."

Dallas police said in a report they searched Johnson's home in the Dallas suburb of Mesquite and found "bomb making materials, ballistic vests, rifles, ammunition and a personal journal of combat tactics." Police said he had no previous criminal history.

Three other people were detained by police, but authorities have not publicly linked them to the shootings.

The Louisiana and Minnesota shootings, both the subject of federal investigations, were the latest in a series of similar incidents that have triggered protests over police use of force against black suspects and racial disparities in the American criminal justice system.

The march was affiliated with Black Lives Matter, a decentralized movement that arose after the series of police killings to protest the treatment of black people by U.S. law enforcement.

Dallas Police Chief David Brown called the incident "a well-planned, well-thought-out, evil tragedy," adding, "We are determined to not let this person steal this democracy from us."

During lengthy negotiations with police, the gunman told police he was angry about the Louisiana and Minnesota killings, Brown told reporters.

RELATED: Images from Dallas

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Officers killed at Dallas protest after police killings of two black men
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Officers killed at Dallas protest after police killings of two black men
DALLAS, TX - JULY 7: Dallas police stand near the scene where four Dallas police officers were shot and killed on July 7, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. According to reports, shots were fired during a protest being held in downtown Dallas in response to recent fatal shootings of two black men by police - Alton Sterling on July 5, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile on July 6, 2016, in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - JULY 7: Dallas police stand watch near the scene where four Dallas police officers were shot and killed on July 7, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. According to reports, shots were fired during a protest being held in downtown Dallas in response to recent fatal shootings of two black men by police - Alton Sterling on July 5, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile on July 6, 2016, in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - JULY 7: Dallas residents sit near the scene where four Dallas police officers were shot and killed on July 7, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. According to reports, shots were fired during a protest being held in downtown Dallas in response to recent fatal shootings of two black men by police - Alton Sterling on July 5, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile on July 6, 2016, in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - JULY 7: Dallas police and residents stand near the scene where four Dallas police officers were shot and killed on July 7, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. According to reports, shots were fired during a protest being held in downtown Dallas in response to recent fatal shootings of two black men by police - Alton Sterling on July 5, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile on July 6, 2016, in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - JULY 7: Dallas residents stand near the scene where four Dallas police officers were shot and killed on July 7, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. According to reports, shots were fired during a protest being held in downtown Dallas in response to recent fatal shootings of two black men by police - Alton Sterling on July 5, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile on July 6, 2016, in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
Police attempt to calm the crowd as someone is arrested following the sniper shooting in Dallas on July 7, 2016. A fourth police officer was killed and two suspected snipers were in custody after a protest late Thursday against police brutality in Dallas, authorities said. One suspect had turned himself in and another who was in a shootout with SWAT officers was also in custody, the Dallas Police Department tweeted. / AFP / Laura Buckman (Photo credit should read LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A Police officer stands guard at a baracade following the sniper shooting in Dallas on July 7, 2016. A fourth police officer was killed and two suspected snipers were in custody after a protest late Thursday against police brutality in Dallas, authorities said. One suspect had turned himself in and another who was in a shootout with SWAT officers was also in custody, the Dallas Police Department tweeted. / AFP / Laura Buckman (Photo credit should read LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Protestors yell after police officers arrest a bystander following the shooting at a protest in Dallas on July 7, 2016. A fourth police officer was killed and two suspected snipers were in custody after a protest late Thursday against police brutality in Dallas, authorities said. One suspect had turned himself in and another who was in a shootout with SWAT officers was also in custody, the Dallas Police Department tweeted. / AFP / Laura Buckman (Photo credit should read LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Police attempt to calm the crowd as someone is arrested following the sniper shooting in Dallas on July 7, 2016. A fourth police officer was killed and two suspected snipers were in custody after a protest late Thursday against police brutality in Dallas, authorities said. One suspect had turned himself in and another who was in a shootout with SWAT officers was also in custody, the Dallas Police Department tweeted. / AFP / Laura Buckman (Photo credit should read LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Protestors yell after police officers arrest a bystander following the shooting at a protest in Dallas on July 7, 2016. A fourth police officer was killed and two suspected snipers were in custody after a protest late Thursday against police brutality in Dallas, authorities said. One suspect had turned himself in and another who was in a shootout with SWAT officers was also in custody, the Dallas Police Department tweeted. / AFP / Laura Buckman (Photo credit should read LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Protestors yell after police officers arrest a bystander following the shooting at a protest in Dallas on July 7, 2016. A fourth police officer was killed and two suspected snipers were in custody after a protest late Thursday against police brutality in Dallas, authorities said. One suspect had turned himself in and another who was in a shootout with SWAT officers was also in custody, the Dallas Police Department tweeted. / AFP / Laura Buckman (Photo credit should read LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A police officer tries to calm protestors following the sniper shooting in Dallas on July 7, 2016. A fourth police officer was killed and two suspected snipers were in custody after a protest late Thursday against police brutality in Dallas, authorities said. One suspect had turned himself in and another who was in a shootout with SWAT officers was also in custody, the Dallas Police Department tweeted. / AFP / Laura Buckman (Photo credit should read LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A police officer tries to calm protestors following the sniper shooting in Dallas on July 7, 2016. A fourth police officer was killed and two suspected snipers were in custody after a protest late Thursday against police brutality in Dallas, authorities said. One suspect had turned himself in and another who was in a shootout with SWAT officers was also in custody, the Dallas Police Department tweeted. / AFP / Laura Buckman (Photo credit should read LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Police attempt to calm the crowd as someone is arrested following the sniper shooting in Dallas on July 7, 2016. A fourth police officer was killed and two suspected snipers were in custody after a protest late Thursday against police brutality in Dallas, authorities said. One suspect had turned himself in and another who was in a shootout with SWAT officers was also in custody, the Dallas Police Department tweeted. / AFP / Laura Buckman (Photo credit should read LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Police cars sit on Main Street in Dallas following the sniper shooting during a protest on July 7, 2016. A fourth police officer was killed and two suspected snipers were in custody after a protest late Thursday against police brutality in Dallas, authorities said. One suspect had turned himself in and another who was in a shootout with SWAT officers was also in custody, the Dallas Police Department tweeted. / AFP / Laura Buckman (Photo credit should read LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Tonight it appears that two snipers shot ten police officers from elevated positions during the protest/rally.... https://t.co/JzHhoMzF5k
With heavy hearts, we are devastated to report a fourth officer has been killed.
2 snipers kill 3 police officers, wound 7 others in Dallas during protest. https://t.co/mm44qKgE40 (Photo: AP) https://t.co/DyaCmJRd2n
People rally in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday, July 7, 2016 to protest the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Black motorist Philando Castile, 32, a school cafeteria worker, was shot at close range by a Minnesota cop and seen bleeding to death in a graphic video shot by his girlfriend that went viral Thursday, the second fatal police shooting to rock America in as many days. / AFP / Laura Buckman (Photo credit should read LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
People rally in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday, July 7, 2016 to protest the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Black motorist Philando Castile, 32, a school cafeteria worker, was shot at close range by a Minnesota cop and seen bleeding to death in a graphic video shot by his girlfriend that went viral Thursday, the second fatal police shooting to rock America in as many days. / AFP / Laura Buckman (Photo credit should read LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
People rally in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday, July 7, 2016 to protest the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Black motorist Philando Castile, 32, a school cafeteria worker, was shot at close range by a Minnesota cop and seen bleeding to death in a graphic video shot by his girlfriend that went viral Thursday, the second fatal police shooting to rock America in as many days. / AFP / Laura Buckman (Photo credit should read LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A man holds a bat reading 'Black Power' during a protest in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday, July 7, 2016 to protest the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Black motorist Philando Castile, 32, a school cafeteria worker, was shot at close range by a Minnesota cop and seen bleeding to death in a graphic video shot by his girlfriend that went viral Thursday, the second fatal police shooting to rock America in as many days. / AFP / Laura Buckman (Photo credit should read LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A man lays on the ground after yelling 'Don't shoot me' at police during a rally in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday, July 7, 2016 to protest the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Black motorist Philando Castile, 32, a school cafeteria worker, was shot at close range by a Minnesota cop and seen bleeding to death in a graphic video shot by his girlfriend that went viral Thursday, the second fatal police shooting to rock America in as many days. / AFP / Laura Buckman (Photo credit should read LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
People rally in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday, July 7, 2016 to protest the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Black motorist Philando Castile, 32, a school cafeteria worker, was shot at close range by a Minnesota cop and seen bleeding to death in a graphic video shot by his girlfriend that went viral Thursday, the second fatal police shooting to rock America in as many days. / AFP / Laura Buckman (Photo credit should read LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman takes pictures of the rally in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday, July 7, 2016 to protest the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Black motorist Philando Castile, 32, a school cafeteria worker, was shot at close range by a Minnesota cop and seen bleeding to death in a graphic video shot by his girlfriend that went viral Thursday, the second fatal police shooting to rock America in as many days. / AFP / Laura Buckman (Photo credit should read LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
People rally in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday, July 7, 2016 to protest the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Black motorist Philando Castile, 32, a school cafeteria worker, was shot at close range by a Minnesota cop and seen bleeding to death in a graphic video shot by his girlfriend that went viral Thursday, the second fatal police shooting to rock America in as many days. / AFP / Laura Buckman (Photo credit should read LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
People rally in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday, July 7, 2016 to protest the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Black motorist Philando Castile, 32, a school cafeteria worker, was shot at close range by a Minnesota cop and seen bleeding to death in a graphic video shot by his girlfriend that went viral Thursday, the second fatal police shooting to rock America in as many days. / AFP / Laura Buckman (Photo credit should read LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
People rally in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday, July 7, 2016 to protest the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Black motorist Philando Castile, 32, a school cafeteria worker, was shot at close range by a Minnesota cop and seen bleeding to death in a graphic video shot by his girlfriend that went viral Thursday, the second fatal police shooting to rock America in as many days. / AFP / Laura Buckman (Photo credit should read LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
People rally in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday, July 7, 2016 to protest the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Black motorist Philando Castile, 32, a school cafeteria worker, was shot at close range by a Minnesota cop and seen bleeding to death in a graphic video shot by his girlfriend that went viral Thursday, the second fatal police shooting to rock America in as many days. / AFP / Laura Buckman (Photo credit should read LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
People rally in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday, July 7, 2016 to protest the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Black motorist Philando Castile, 32, a school cafeteria worker, was shot at close range by a Minnesota cop and seen bleeding to death in a graphic video shot by his girlfriend that went viral Thursday, the second fatal police shooting to rock America in as many days. / AFP / Laura Buckman (Photo credit should read LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
People rally in Dallas, Texas, on July 7, 2016 to protest the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Black motorist Philando Castile, 32, a school cafeteria worker, was shot at close range by a Minnesota cop and seen bleeding to death in a graphic video shot by his girlfriend that went viral Thursday, the second fatal police shooting to rock America in as many days. / AFP / Laura Buckman (Photo credit should read LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
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"The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated that he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers," said Brown, who is black.

Some details began to emerge about Johnson. He posted a rant against white people on a black nationalist Facebook group called Black Panther Party Mississippi last Saturday, denouncing the lynching and brutalizing of black people.

"Why do so many whites (not all) enjoy killing and participating in the death of innocent beings," Johnson wrote in his Facebook post above a graphic video of people participating in a whale-killing, comparing it to the treatment of black people in the United States.

In what appeared to be his own Facebook page, he was portrayed as a black nationalist, with images of Black Power and the red, black and green flag sometimes known as the Black Liberation flag. His profile photo showed him with his clenched fist in the air in the familiar Black Power gesture.

The U.S. Army said Johnson, 25, had served as a private first class in the Army Reserve and was deployed to Afghanistan from November 2013 to July 2014. It said Johnson served from March 2009 to April 2015 and was a carpentry and masonry specialist with the 420th Engineering Brigade based in Texas.

'HEARTACHE AND DEVASTATION'

Details on how the shootings unfolded remained unclear. Video of the attack taken by a witness shows a gunman carrying an assault-style weapon and large amounts of ammunition.

The video shows a man with a rifle crouching at ground level and charging at and then shooting another person who appeared to be wearing a uniform. That person then collapsed to the ground.

Reuters could not immediately confirm the authenticity of the video.

Reverend Jeff Hood, an organizer of Thursday night's protest, said he had been chatting with some of the police officers on the street when gunfire erupted.

"I saw what I believe were two police officers that went down. I didn't know what to do," Hood told reporters on Friday. "If we continue to turn to violence, we are going to continue to see heartache and devastation."

It was the deadliest day for U.S. police since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

WATCH: Harrowing footage from the scene of the shooting

Facebook Live Of Dallas Shootings

President Barack Obama, in Poland for a NATO summit, called the Dallas shootings "a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement." Obama, stymied by the Republican-led Congress in his bid for new gun control laws, added, "We also know when people are armed with powerful weapons unfortunately it makes attacks like these more deadly."

Three of the slain officers were identified on Friday. One was Brent Thompson, 43, who joined the Dallas Area Rapid Transit police department in 2009, according to police. Another was Patricio Zamarripa, 32, an U.S. Navy veteran, according to his family. Also killed was Michael Krol, 40, according to the Wayne County Sheriff's Office in Michigan, where he used to work.

A man in Tennessee opened fire on a highway, killing a woman and grazing a police officer with a bullet on Thursday, because he was troubled by incidents involving black people and law enforcement, authorities said on Friday. Police officers also were ambushed and wounded in shootings in Missouri and Georgia on Friday.

Largely peaceful protests unfolded around the United States after the police shooting of Philando Castile, a 32-year-old black man, on Wednesday during a traffic stop near St. Paul, Minnesota. The day earlier, police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, shot dead Alton Sterling, 37, while responding to a call alleging he had threatened someone with a gun.

Both major U.S. presidential contenders canceled their campaign events for Friday following the attack.

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