The city of Dallas was plunged into chaos on Thursday night as three police officers were shot dead and at least seven others were wounded when dozens of shots were fired during a downtown protest, The Guardian reports.
Dallas police chief David Brown said in a statement that “two snipers shot ten officers from elevated positions”. Brown said three officers were killed, two were in surgery and three were in a critical condition.
“An intensive search for suspects is currently underway,” said Brown.
The Dallas Area Rapid Transit system announced on Twitter that four of its police officers had been struck, one fatally. The injuries to the other three officers were described as “not life-threatening”.
Dan Patrick, the lieutenant governor of Texas, said on Twitter: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the police officers who were shot in Dallas tonight,”
Protests had broken out around the US earlier in the evening over the fatal police shootings of two African American men, Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge on Tuesday and Philando Castile, on Wednesday in Minneapolis.
As large protests grew in cities such as New York City and Minneapolis, a similar demonstration in Dallas appeared to be proceeding peacefully when shots rang out from an unknown location at about 9pm local time, according to witnesses.
Video footage captured by local television cameras and witnesses on social media showed at least one officer on the ground. Protesters were seen fleeing through the streets of downtown Dallas screaming as multiple shots rang out in quick succession.
“Everyone just started running,” Devante Odom, 21, an eyewitness, told the Dallas Morning News . “We lost touch with two of our friends just trying to get out of there.”
The Dallas Area Rapid Transit suspended all bus and rail service in downtown. Streets appeared to have been cleared by officers and people ordered while officers searched for suspects.