Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté followed the news Thursday night as reports came in from Dallas that two snipers apparently shot 11 police officers during protests there, killing five.
His counterpart in Dallas, Chief David Brown, issued a statement saying the snipers appeared to have fired from elevated positions about 8:45 p.m., while hundreds of people were gathered to protest fatal police shootings this week in Baton Rouge, La., and suburban St. Paul, Minn. The five officers killed made Thursday the deadliest day for American police since 9/11.
Forté said he considers Brown a friend and will reach out to him when there is time, and that he wanted to be careful about commenting on the still-developing situation in Dallas.
Instead, Forté spoke of doing everything possible to keep peace in Kansas City.
“We’re going to continue to develop relationships in the community and improve our department,” Forté said. “Every day we have to build relationships, before we have an incident.”
Forté said he had been paying attention to the protests as well, and the news of the day regarding the fatal police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana.
“I understand the frustrations in the community. Racism is real. Police brutality is real. We have to show segments of the community that we’re going to do better — not just when there’s an incident.”
About 12:30 a.m., Brown said that police had located four people who they believed had coordinated the attacks as a team. Three of those were in police custody and a fourth was engaged in a standoff with police at a parking garage and had been exchanging gunfire with officers.
Shortly after 3 a.m., that gunman was dead, according to local media reports.
Brown said the gunman involved in the standoff had told police that there were “bombs all over the place” and that there would be more killings.
Police had arrested a female near the site of that shooting and arrested two other suspects after making a traffic stop on a Mercedes in the Dallas area after the shooting.
Into the early morning hours, Dallas police were still trying to get information out of suspects through interrogations and a massive investigation was beginning that would see a large area of downtown transformed into a crime scene.
“It’s still a very tenuous situation,” Brown said. “We still don’t have a complete comfort level that we have all the suspects.”
Kansas City, Kan., Police Chief Terry Zeigler was in the midst of a discussion on Twitter about policing issues when the news broke. He and others posted their reactions on Twitter.
In Dallas, video from the scene of the shooting appeared on social media within minutes. New information continued to surface throughout the evening as the police investigation progressed and those who were shot were identified.
A citizen was also reportedly injured in the shooting.