From Peace To Horror To Grief: 24 Hours In Dallas Through Sound And Pictures | KERA News

From Peace To Horror To Grief: 24 Hours In Dallas Through Sound And Pictures

Jul 8, 2016

By all accounts, Thursday night's protest in downtown Dallas was peaceful. Then shots rang out. Here's a look at 24 hours in Dallas through sound and photos.

Demonstrators gathered in Belo Garden Park to protest the recent fatal police shootings of two African-American men — Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile of St. Paul, Minnesota.

Around 8:45 p.m., just as the event was wrapping up, a sniper started firing into the crowd. Five police officers died and seven were injured. Two civilians were also hurt.

Click on the slideshow above to see pictures from the Thursday night protests. 

'I don't know what happened ... I was taking cover'

Javier Giribet-Vargas, a KERA intern, was covering the protests when the shots began. “I don’t know what happened, but by the Bank of America building, there was a shooting; I ran, I dropped my phone."

Dozens of Dallas police cars arrived immediately. Officers were out in force, wearing helmets, shields and holding assault weapons. 

"I was taking cover and I could hear on the police radio that there was an injured person who was shot in the chest and that the suspects could have been in a black SUV. The police were saying through the radio that the shots might have come from the parking garage of one of the buildings."

'Everything just fell apart'

Wyatt Rosser attended Thursday night's march and talked with KERA about what he saw:

"The Black Lives Matter rally … started out as, what was to me, the biggest and most inspiring rally I've been to in Dallas. Speakers were great and everything and was peaceful and beautiful until the end of the march. … There were really beautiful speakers, a lot of great things were said and it felt really unifying and we were all standing in solidarity and that happened, and everyone just scattered and we broke apart. That was probably the most intense and disheartening thing for me, how symbolic it was being linked in arms, feeling this really strong moment and then hearing gunshots and then everything just fell apart. …

"These shooters are definitely radicals that are not representative of what we were gathering for or standing for and speaking about. This was by far the most peaceful and unifying BLM rally I've been to. There was no talk of violence or fighting back. There was talk of standing up for your rights and coming together as people and protecting yourselves, yes, but there was no kind of rhetoric spoken by the speakers or people in the audience that would have encouraged this to happen. …

"These few radical shooters took everything over and stole the spotlight with violence that's not representative of what the majority of us was standing for tonight."