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Man planted bombs at US police HQ

Published 13/06/2015

Several men carrying automatic weapons opened fire on officers outside Dallas Police headquarters
Several men carrying automatic weapons opened fire on officers outside Dallas Police headquarters

A man planted pipe bombs outside Dallas's police headquarters before opening fire on the building and officers who tried to stop him, spraying the building and a squad car with bullets.

After cornering the fleeing suspect's van in the car park of a fast-food restaurant in the suburb of Hutchins, a police sniper shot and killed him after it was determined he still posed enough of a threat, police chief David Brown said.

Authorities said they would not release his identity until a medical examiner had confirmed it.

At a news conference before they confirmed his death, Mr Brown said the gunman had identified himself as James Boulware and said he blamed police for having lost custody of his son and for "accusing him of being a terrorist". He later cautioned that it was possible the suspect did not give his real name.

Authorities said it was remarkable that no one else was killed or injured in the attack.

According to police, the suspect apparently opened fire on the building from his parked van. Bullets pierced the glass at the entrance and caused damage inside, including at the front desk, where the worker on duty had just gone to get a soft drink.

He also fired on officers who drove up to confront him, riddling squad cars with bullets but not actually hitting anyone. Mobile phone video shot from a nearby balcony or roof showed the suspect's dark-coloured van ram a squad car as gunshots rang out.

The man then fled, eventually stopping in the car park of a fast food restaurant in the suburb of Hutchins, where the stand off ensued.

Investigators found a package of pipe bombs in the car park of the headquarters building and at least two more pipe bombs in the van, police said.

The suspect had told police negotiators that he had explosives in the van, and Mr Brown said that the department decided to shoot him because it felt he still posed enough of a threat. After the suspect was confirmed dead, the van caught fire due to the explosives inside, police said.

"When the negotiation was on, he became increasingly angry and threatening, such that we were not only concerned with our officers there trying to contain the scene being shot by him at a moment's notice," but also people nearby, Mr Brown said.

Wary that the van may have been rigged with explosives, police used a camera-equipped robot to inspect it rather than have officers approach it immediately, which was why it took several hours to confirm he was dead.

The attack began at around 12.30am, when several police officers were standing nearby. A popular bar across the street from the headquarters building was still open, and the neighbourhood is also home to a boutique hotel and apartment buildings.

Many residents awoke to the sound of gunfire and sirens. In the early confusion, witnesses reported seeing as many as four attackers, including some who had taken high positions for better vantage points. Mr Brown later said investigators were confident the only attacker was the suspect police later killed.

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