But the peaceful protest "against nationwide officer-involved shootings" was cut short by sniper fire, killing four Dallas police officers and one Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer. Seven other officers and two civilians were also injured.
Police have since identified the sniper as Micah Xavier Johnson, 25. After several hours of negotiation, Johnson admitted that he was upset about the recent police-involved shootings and "wanted to kill white people," according to NBC.
"This is a terrible blow to the city of Dallas. This is a terrible blow to the United States of America," Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said on the NBC's "Today" show Friday morning.
Police exchanged gunfire with Johnson, after which officers detonated a bomb robot near the suspect's location, killing him.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown, who released the information about Johnson's link to the case, said alternative methods of ending the standoff would have put more police officers and civilians at risk.
Before he was killed, Johnson claimed to have placed IEDs around the city.
A later search of Johnson's property found bomb making materials, ballistic vests, rifles, ammunition, and a personal journal containing combat tactics.
While police first believed there were two shooters at the protest, further investigation by senior members of U.S. law enforcement have led them to believe Johnson was the only shooter.
"I'm not going to be satisfied until we turn over every stone," Brown said. "If there's someone out there associated with this, we will find you."
Officers canvassed the area after the shooting. While they did find a "suspicious package," it was cleared, and the DPD tweeted that the area was safe. Crime scene investigators began processing around 6AM.
"We're hurting. Our profession is hurting. 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,” Brown said. “We don't feel much support most days. Let's not make today most days. We need your support to be able to protect your from men like these."
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