A night of peaceful protest in Dallas was coming to an end. Protesters, many of whom had linked arms as they walked, were just a few blocks from the site of President John F. Kennedy's 1963 assassination. Then a torrent of bullets rained down on the crowd of about 800 people.
"It was an ambush," said NPR's Wade Goodwyn. As hundreds of people ran for their lives, police officers sprinted into the chaos to help. "There were some amazing feats of courage," Goodwyn said, "as police officers rushed to the shooting scene and put themselves between the snipers and their downed colleagues." Officers were reportedly shot in the back trying to get the injured out of the way.
The scene was "like a little war," one protester told The Washington Post. Another said the bullets "whizzed" by and ricocheted off of buildings, leaving him nowhere to hide.
Police reportedly dragged the injured out of the line of fire and several people said they were saved by cops who pushed them out of the way when the shooting began.
"I've never been more proud of [being] a police officer," Dallas Police Chief David Brown said, "and being a part of this great, noble profession, seeing the courage, the professionalism and just grit to stay on the scene, looking for suspects, knowing that we are vulnerable."
Police say four snipers shot two civilians and 12 police officers Friday, killing five. At least one suspect has been confirmed dead, following a standoff with police. Three other suspects have reportedly been taken into custody.