Tulsa Police More Aware Of Being Potential Targets Following Dallas Attack

Friday, July 8th 2016, 7:10 pm
By: Emory Bryan

A deadly ambush in Dallas left five police officers dead and seven more injured. Two civilians were also shot Thursday night.

Dallas police say the tragedy happened at the conclusion of a peaceful protest of deadly police shootings involving black men in Louisiana and Minnesota.

As details develop, we continue to learn new information about the man now being called the only suspect, 25-year-old Micah Johnson, who got into a long gun battle with police.

7/8/2016 Related Story: 5 Officers Now Dead After Dallas Sniper Ambush

Johnson lived in the Dallas suburb of Mesquite and was a decorated private first-class with the Army Reserves who served in Afghanistan.

CBS News is reporting Johnson had a semi-automatic assault rifle and a handgun. He also wore body armor and police say Johnson had bomb-making materials and a journal of combat tactics at his home.

Before he died, Johnson told negotiators he acted alone. Police had detained several others for questioning.

7/8/2016 Related Story: Dallas Suspect Said He Wanted To Kill Whites

The commander of Tulsa's special operations team describes the scene - rapid gun fire raining into a crowd from a hidden suspect - as a nightmare.

7/8/2016 Related Story: Chief: TPD Will Protect All Tulsans From 'Psychotic Thugs' Like Dallas Shooters

Usually in a protest march, police worry most about keeping people with different viewpoints apart, but now, Captain Mike Eckert says officers will be even more alert for their own safety.

“Sometimes our biggest issues on protests like that are anti-protestors, we have to protect them from each other,” he said.

But Eckert says the Dallas shooting can only make officers feel more like a target.

He said a downtown setting with plenty of hiding places is an unusually tough place to get into a shootout.

"That makes things more difficult when you have an overwatch or overlook it's much more difficult to discern where the shots are coming from,” Eckert said. “It's more difficult to get a response entity to them, and it's more dangerous for everyone involved."

Police in Dallas ended up killing the suspect with an explosive carried by a robot - technology Tulsa police could employ in a desperate situation, but they've never had to consider it.

7/8/2016 Related Story: Dallas Shooting: Experts Say Use Of Bomb Robot A 'First'

Eckert said it's too early to know what police will learn from the encounter in Dallas, but said the planning for the attack, and the plans for security, will likely be reviewed for officer training.

"Those kind of things, we look at from the preventative side. That's always beneficial, but that's truly a nightmare set of circumstances when you're in an extremely populated area like that," he said.

Eckert said the surprise attack only emphasizes the difficulty of defending against a determined person.

"It wouldn't have mattered at what point in the march those shots were fired - it would have been a devastating result. But, towards the end, you start to realize, ‘I'm almost done with this. We've had no issues and shots rang out,’" the captain said.

Eckert also noted that civilians so eager to shoot video of something is actually putting them harm’s way. Meaning something else officers have to keep an eye on and keep safe.