Candlelight vigil honours police officers gunned down in Dallas ambush

Dallas police officials said they grieved for the officers' families and would always support them. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Dallas, United States Jul 12, 2016, 07.00 AM (IST)
Thousands of Dallas residents attended a candlelight vigil yesterday outside of the police department to honour five officers gunned down in an ambush last week.

Authorities have named former US Army Reserve soldier Micah Johnson, a 25-year-old African-American, as the lone gunman in last Thursday's sniper attack in Dallas, which came at the end of a march by hundreds of demonstrations decrying the fatal shootings by police of black men earlier in the week. 

Officials said Johnson had embraced militant black nationalism and expressed anger over shootings by police as well as a desire to "kill white people, especially white officers."

Johnson killed Lorne Ahrens, 48; Michael Krol, 40; Brent Thomson, 43; Mike Smith, 55: and Hispanic officer Patrick Zamarripa, 32, a Navy reservist and a US Marine veteran.

Dallas police officials said they grieved for the officers' families and would always support them.

"We want these families, my brothers in blue, sisters in blue, for the citizens of this city, to feel love in powerful way, a way that will provide healing to us all in a time when we most need it," Dallas Police chaplain Sean Pease said during a prayer.

"Families, we love you. We love you with everything we have. We are now your surrogate family members. We're your brothers and your sisters. When you need us, you call. Because we'll not only be loving you today, we'll be loving you always," Chief David Brown said.

Each officer was memorialised by a representative at the vigil.

Smith's longtime partner on the beat entreated Dallas residents to use Smith as an example to better their city.

"I and those who loved Mike the most choose to honour his legacy by choosing -- because it is a choice -- not to let our anger darker place, but instead to we choose to continue Mike's fight for good and to not let the evil prevail. We will continue to protect and serve this wonderful city that Mike loved so much," Corporal St. John said.

Thursday's rally in Dallas followed the fatal police shootings of Philando Castile, 32, near St. Paul, Minnesota, on Wednesday (July 6), and Alton Sterling, 37, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Tuesday.