What started out as an evening dedicated to peaceful protests in cities across the United States turned deadly in Dallas, Texas, after five police officers were killed and six more wounded by sniper fire on Thursday night.

Police identified the suspect as Micah Xavier Johnson, 25. Dallas Police Chief David Brown gave details about the suspect Friday morning.

"The suspect said he was upset about Black Lives Matter ... about the recent police shootings ... at white people. He stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers," Brown said.

People gathered in cities across the U.S., including Washington, D.C., Chicago, and New York City, to demonstrate anger and sadness as the recent police shootings of two black men.

Alton Sterling, 37, was killed by a Baton Rouge, La., police officer in a convenient store parking lot early Tuesday morning. Philando Castiles, 32, was killed by a police officer in his car after being pulled over on Wednesday in a Minneapolis suburb.

In both instances, the incidents were filmed — Sterling’s murder was caught by someone in nearby car; Castile’s fiancée livestreamed the aftermath of his shooting on Facebook Live. Both videos quickly went viral and reignited the #BlackLivesMatter movement across America.

Hundreds of protesters had been walking on the streets of Dallas peacefully in the hours before the shooting. As crowds dispersed at the end of the march’s route, around 8:30 p.m., gunfire started to ring out and people scattered.

"Everyone just started running," Devante Odom, 21, told The Dallas Morning News.

One of the slain officers, identified as Brent Thompson, 43, worked for the city’s transit agency. A civilian bystander was also wounded in the shooting.

“There’s no possible justification for these kinds of attacks or any kind of violence against law enforcement,” US President Barack Obama said in a brief statement from Poland. He called the attacks “vicious, calculated, and despicable.”

It’s the deadliest event for law enforcement officers since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in NYC. The shootings took place a few blocks from Daly Square, where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.

Earlier from Poland, where Obama is attending the NATO summit, he commented on the shootings of Castile and Sterling.

“When incidents like this occur, there’s a big chunk of our citizenry that feels as if, because of the color of their skin, they are not being treated the same, and that hurts, and that should trouble us all. This is not just a black issue, not just a Hispanic issue. This is an American issue that we should all care about.”

Minn. Gov. Mark Dayton earlier asked a provocative question: “Would this have happened if the driver were white, if the passengers were white? I don’t think so.”


Demand Equity

5 police officers killed in Dallas as US mourns deaths of black men