Local leaders and police reacted with vigilance to the shootings in Dallas Thursday evening that resulted in the deaths of five officers, who were keeping watch over protests regarding the officer-involved shootings that occurred in Minnesota and Louisiana this week. The attack appears to be the deadliest for public safety officers in the U.S. since the events of September 11, 2011.
At least one sniper killed five officers and wounded seven others, saying during the events that he wanted to shoot white officers. The sniper was killed and three others are in custody, according to the New York Times.
“There has been a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement,” President Barack Obama told reporters at a Friday morning over the phone. “Police in Dallas were on duty doing their jobs, keeping people safe, during peaceful protests.”
“Our profession is hurting,” said Dallas Police Chief David Brown to the press on Friday. “Dallas officers are hurting. We are heartbroken. There are no words to describe the atrocity that occurred to our city. All I know is that this must stop, this divisiveness between our police and our citizens.”
State Assemblymember Isadore Hall (D-Compton), Assemblyman Mike Gipson (D-Carson and Pastor W. todd Ervin of Church One announced they are slated to gather for a prayer for peace at 5:00PM today in Long Beach as a response to the numerous shootings this week across the country, particularly in Minnesota, Lousiana and Dallas.
Church One is located at 700 East 70th Street in Long Beach.
For more information, contact Kathy Williamson at 310.324.6408 or 323.574.9750.
The LBPD took time to extend its sympathy to the Dallas Police Department and proclaimed its commitment to maintaining “situational awareness” of nationwide events.
“Our employees have been reminded to remain cognizant of their surroundings while performing their duties,” a statement issued by the LBPD stated. “The Long Beach Police Department continues to work with community partners in an ongoing effort to provide the highest level of public safety for all.”
The LBPD, along with the Glendale Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department were under orders to pair up following the shooting, according to Deputy Guillermina Saldana of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau. The order was made “under an abundance of caution,'' said Saldana.
The protests in Dallas were just one of many that occurred nationwide, in the aftermath of the officer-involved deaths of 32-year-old Philando Castile and 37-year-old Alton Sterling, both black men, when they were shot and killed.
As the Dallas shootings were occurring, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia called the incident an “American Tragedy.”
“The Dallas officers were killed while protecting free speech and peaceful protest,” he said. “This is an American tragedy and we must and can do better.”
He also tweeted a thank you to the Long Beach Police Department.
To all our Long Beach Police officers out there tonight on patrol, we are thinking about you, and thank you.— Robert Garcia (@RobertGarciaLB) July 8, 2016
Congressman Alan Lowenthal released a statement reflecting upon the incidents and potential for change.
"Dallas, Texas. Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Baton Rouge, Louisiana," wrote Lowenthal. "These are not individual incidents, occurring in a vacuum, outside the orbits of each other. These tragedies are tied together by the threads of anger and fear."
"I also know that we as a nation cannot allow ourselves to grow numb to this. Each of these deaths—each of these innocent lives lost—should cause each of us great sorrow and pain,'" stated Lowenthal. "They should pain not just for the simple loss of human life, but also for the realization that their deaths, and the more than 90 people that die from gunfire each day in this nation, are the painful signs that something is profoundly wrong in our society. Fear and anger have never been our nation's rudder. As the President said, 'We are better than this.'"
This story will be updated as the situation develops, with additional comments and any scheduled memorial plans.
This report was updated at 2:59PM with information about the 5:00PM Prayer for Peace at Church One.
This report was updated at 9:00PM, clarifying the gun in Castile's possession, and adding a statement from the Dallas police chief.