At least one man with an automatic weapon driving an armored vehicle with gun ports reportedly planted pipe bombs outside the Dallas Police Department early Saturday morning before exchanging gunfire with officers in a story that is still developing.
So far, only one suspect has been possibly identified; James Boulware, a 35-year-old man with a history of violence and mental illness. But witnesses reported seeing up to four suspects.
However, Dallas police say they believe the single suspect shot at the building from several locations.
They also say they found four duffel bags outside the station with at least one of them containing explosives, which was detonated.
Also, Dallas police say they only obtained this name through negotiations with the suspect after they chased him on an interstate. At this point, he apparently remains inside the armored vehicle, possibly injured or dead.
Police said on Twitter that a SWAT team dispatched a robot to examine the vehicle.
Whether the suspect in the van is injured or dead, the tweet said, “concern continues to be threat of explosives.”
Dallas police chief David Brown told reporters that a suspect — before cutting off negotiations — indicated the incident involved a child custody issue.
Brown did say police negotiators have been talking to the suspect via cell phone, and the man told them the police “took his child” and “accused him of being a terrorist.”
Several citizens captured the shootout on video, posting footage online.
And, of course, Dallas police are now asking the public to send them any footage they recorded of the incident, quite an ironic request considering police in this country generally suspect citizens with cameras standing outside police departments to be the ones plotting attacks.
At this point, there is no evidence the suspect planned his attack beforehand by video recording the police department from a public sidewalk. And no officer has been injured in the exchange of gunfire.
Here is a 2013 news article about Boulware being taken into custody after an armed standoff with police following threats that he was going to shoot up schools and churches. The case was dismissed in April 2014 after he completed court-ordered sanctions.
Below are videos of the shootout captured by citizens as well as a video of a press conference with Dallas Police Chief David Brown.
UPDATE II: The suspect is dead after police blew up the van. They still have not confirmed it is Boulware, but it would be a dramatic twist of events if it turns out to be somebody else. Police report at least two pipe bombs were found in the van, according to WFAA.