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Dallas shootings: Sorrow, disbelief among state officials

Courtesy: WFAA

by Johnathan Silver, The Texas Tribune

When civilians and police officers came under fire late Thursday night in Dallas, state officials live-tweeted the latest news, offered prayers and lamented a peaceful protest warping into a shootout between snipers and law enforcement.

North Texas-area lawmakers were some of the first officials to pick up the incident, which happened during one of several protests around the country in response to police fatally shooting Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota. Their deaths sparked national outcry about black individuals dying at the hands of law enforcement.

State Rep. Ramon Romero Jr., D-Fort Worth, was one of the first lawmakers to tweet regular updates as Dallas police and local news outlets released information, including as the death count rose and misinformation about a person of interest confused media outlets and people online.

Praying for Dallas. America must come together, it takes all of us, it starts with you!#StoptheViolence — Ramon Romero Jr. (@RepRamonRomero) July 8, 2016

Alleged suspects brother says that he was not involved..this night can't end soon enough.@DallasPD — Ramon Romero Jr. (@RepRamonRomero) July 8, 2016

Mark Hughes turned himself in after being called a suspect by media, while @DallasPD only called him a POI. Why? Black men can't open carry — Ramon Romero Jr. (@RepRamonRomero) July 8, 2016

Other officials expressed disbelief, called for peace and criticized President Barack Obama.

We need leadership. We need a President who will stand with law enforcement. Somehow I don't think that will happen. #BackTheBlue #Dallas— Matt Rinaldi (@MattRinaldiTX) July 8, 2016 pic.twitter.com/w75mWWzGWq— Royce West (@SenRoyceWest) July 8, 2016

I drove by Dealey Plaza yesterday & was saddened by JFK killing. Now tonight a tragedy in Dallas. May God comfort all our Texas families.— Rep. Tony Dale (@TonyDaleTX) July 8, 2016

Violence in Orlando, Baton Rouge, Minnesota & now in Dallas. Heartbreaking to watch our nation divided & torn apart https://t.co/9QgQHIu9IW— Matt Shaheen (@MattShaheen) July 8, 2016

A fourth officer has given his life tonight for the Dallas citizenry. 11 have been shot. My God, please make it stop. — Jason Villalba (@JasonVillalba) July 8, 2016

Or this is exactly who we are. I don't know anymore. I'm still processing it all as we learn 4th officer has died. https://t.co/o4lm0GJ6Ax— Eric Johnson (@JohnsonForTexas) July 8, 2016

Communities are always safer when neighbors see #police as partners...& vice versa. Let's extend a hand to those who need it #PrayforDallas— Justin Rodriguez (@RepJRod) July 8, 2016

There has been too much bloodshed from Baton Rouge, Minnesota and now Dallas. Too many lives taken, too many families destroyed. #Stop. st— Sylvester Turner (@SylvesterTurner) July 8, 2016

Earlier Thursday, President Barack Obama tried to quell a nation still reeling from the deaths of Sterling and Castile.

Read @POTUS's statement on the fatal shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile: https://t.co/K313srpinP pic.twitter.com/rVj40rHRKE— The White House (@WhiteHouse) July 7, 2016

Gov. Greg Abbott later offered prayers and assistance in a statement, and Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted payers and support for law enforcement.

My prayers are with those harmed in Dallas and with the first responders; we will be in touch w/ local authorities to assist however we can— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) July 8, 2016

Men & women of law enforcement selflessly run into harm's way to save the lives of others. May God protect them and bring peace upon Dallas.— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 8, 2016

My statement on tonight's shooting in #Dallas. pic.twitter.com/oXoAJOUCoF— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) July 8, 2016

Early Friday morning, Dallas Police Chief David Brown said officers were negotiating and exchanging fire with a suspect who said "the end is coming," bombs are laid throughout downtown and that they would continue to attack law enforcement. Brown said he is not confident that all suspects have been found.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said the city would need help from Abbott's office. Abbott's office said in a subsequent statement that he spoke with Rawlings and that he is cutting short an out-of-state trip and heading directly to Dallas. This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune. The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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