Five Dallas law enforcement officers were killed in a sniper attack Thursday night, bringing the death toll of officers killed in the line of duty this year up to 56, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
The attack, which injured several more officers, occurred during a demonstration held downtown for the black victims of two police shootings this week, which generated national outrage when video of one shooting and the aftermath of the other were shared widely on social media.
Alton Sterling, 37, was killed Tuesday when two Baton Rouge police officers shot him as he appeared to be held down, according to cell phone footage that captured the shooting. A day later, Philando Castile, 32, was shot during a traffic stop and his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds broadcast the aftermath on Facebook Live.
Dallas police were present at Thursday night’s rally to protect demonstrators when shots rang out around 9 p.m. local time. Another seven officers were injured, and multiple suspects were in custody, Dallas police said Friday morning. The Dallas Morning News reported one suspect was killed in a nearby parking garage after trading fire with police.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown said in an early Friday morning press conference they are unsure if other suspects may be at large.
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which tracks officer fatalities and deadliest days for law enforcement, Thursday’s attack is the deadliest attack for law enforcement since Sept. 11, 2001, which claimed 72 officers’ lives.
Before the Dallas shooting, 51 officers had died in 2016 while on duty, compared to 58 by July 7 of last year.
Twenty-one of those deaths this year were related to firearms, according to the organization, compared to 18 firearms-related deaths the year before.
Five of the 51 officers killed this year worked in the state of Texas, not including a federal Border Patrol agent who was killed in a vehicle crash in the state.
Texas is now the deadliest state for law enforcement this year. The next deadliest state, Louisiana, has had four law enforcement deaths since January 1.