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Story highlights

  • Military claims to be in charge after a coup
  • Government officials say coup will be put down, instigators will be punished
The statement was made on behalf of the “Peace in the Nation” council, the announcer said. “The political administration that has lost all legitimacy has been forced to withdraw,” the anchor said.
Early Saturday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged people to take to the streets and stand up to the military during a coup attempt.
“Go to the streets and give them their answer,” he told residents during a Facetime interview on CNN Turk.
“I am coming to a square in Ankara. … This was done from outside the chain of command,” he said of the military. “Those who are responsible, we will give them the necessary punishment,” he said. It was not clear where he was speaking from.
Earlier, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told broadcaster A Haber that some military units have attempted a coup. Yildirim vowed the coup attempt would not succeed.
He told state news agency Anadolu the coup is “an attempt against democracy and the will of the people. Those who attempted this will pay the heaviest price.”
There have been no independent verification of the claims by the military or the government. It is unclear who is in charge in Turkey.
The military has issued statements, which have been published in some Turkish media, and not others, and reported by the Reuters news agency, claiming it has “fully seized control of Turkey” to maintain democratic order, that rule of law must remain a priority and international relations must remain. The statements have not been distributed through regular web channels.
A CNN producer said there were 200 to 300 residents in Taksim Square in Istanbul. Some of them were waving Turkish flags. About 100 police officers were shooting off tear gas, trying to disperse the crowd.
At least one army tank and one other military vehicle were at the square.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters in Moscow that he has been given reports about what is going on. “I don’t have any details. I hope there will be peace, stability and continuity in Turkey,” he said.
A report from the U.S. Embassy in Ankara said military-appearing jets had been flying low over the city and Istanbul for about an hour.
One tweet showed a military jet flying extremely low over the capital Ankara.
Two bridges in Istanbul are closed in one direction by the military. Cars are flowing from the European side of the city to the Asian, but soldiers and military vehicles are blocking the path to the European side.
Erdogan is the co-founder of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). He was elected Prime Minister in 2003. Under his rule, Turkey became a powerhouse in the Middle East. His reign came to an end in 2014, and his own party’s rules prevented him from seeking a fourth term.
So, he ran for president — and won. Before this, the president of Turkey was a largely ceremonial role, but Erdogan tried to change that by altering the constitution to give him more power.
The 2015 election resulted in a hung Parliament, leading to sweeping anti-government protests and terror attacks. Turkey held a snap election, and with that, Erdogan’s AK Party regained control.
Under Erdogan, who is extremely conservative, religion had started to play a more important role in Turkey, which is a largely secular country. He was active in Islamist circles in the 1970s and 1980s.
Erdogan is open about his dislike of social media. Sites such as YouTube and Facebook are frequently blacked out in the country.

CNN’s Gul Tuysuz contributed to this report.

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Stranded in Indianapolis on Wednesday after an aircraft malfunction, Donald J. Trump did what any gifted showman with a national campaign to run would do: He brought the presidential circus to him.

Mr. Trump, who is approaching a self-imposed deadline for selecting a running mate, met throughout the day with three finalists for the position — including two, Newt Gingrich and Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, flown in solely for that purpose.

A third candidate, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, huddled at his home on Wednesday morning with Mr. Trump and his children, Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

In a scene more reminiscent of television entertainment than a standard presidential campaign, a crush of reporters monitored Mr. Trump’s departure from Mr. Pence’s home, and the comings and goings of vice-presidential prospects from Mr. Trump’s hotel throughout the day.

In some respects, the display resembled a late-season episode of a television dating show, in which various suitors meet the family of their prospective spouse, in a taxing final test of compatibility and commitment.

At least one vice-presidential contender approached the moment with a degree of lightheartedness. Mr. Gingrich, when asked why he was in Indiana, acknowledged he was going to meet with Mr. Trump’s children.

“See the kids, go to the zoo,” said Mr. Gingrich, a former speaker of the House. (Though he is an animal lover and is known to visit local zoos, Mr. Gingrich clarified he was kidding about visiting the Indianapolis Zoo).

His sudden series of back-to-back conversations with vice-presidential finalists gave at least the impression of indecision, with little time left on the clock to make his choice. On Wednesday, Mr. Trump posted on Twitter that he would announce his running mate at 11 a.m. Eastern on Friday, just ahead of the Republican convention in Cleveland, which begins next Monday.

In addition to the three candidates who met Wednesday with the Trump family, Mr. Trump also spoke by phone with Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, the leader of Mr. Trump’s transition team, who has also been vetted as a potential running mate.

Among Mr. Trump’s advisers, Mr. Pence is seen as the lowest-risk option: a stolid if unspectacular choice, helpful for locking up conservative votes and perhaps boosting Mr. Trump’s appeal across the Midwest.

At the top levels of the Trump campaign, there was a high degree of optimism earlier in the week that Mr. Pence would connect on a personal level with Mr. Trump during a planned visit to Indiana, and thus dispense with his competition for the job. Republicans have even begun to prepare for Mr. Pence’s potential withdrawal from his race for re-election.

Interactive Feature | 2016 Election Polls Get the latest national and state polls on the presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump.

Yet Mr. Trump has so far given no particular signal of public enthusiasm for Mr. Pence. At a joint rally in Indiana on Tuesday, Mr. Trump mused that Mr. Pence could end up as vice president, but added, “Who the hell knows?”

Jeff Cardwell, the chairman of the Indiana Republican Party, said Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence appeared “very relaxed” together at a private fund-raising event in the state on Tuesday night. While there, Mr. Pence talked up Indiana’s economy, Mr. Cardwell said, and Mr. Trump said that many people outside the state had taken note of its economic performance.

Even as Mr. Trump’s political advisers have largely rallied around Mr. Pence, there remains considerable affection for Mr. Gingrich within the Trump family, particularly from Ivanka Trump and her husband, Mr. Kushner.

Mr. Gingrich has been an aggressive advocate for Mr. Trump, and he drew an enthusiastic response at a campaign rally in Ohio last week.

And Sheldon Adelson, the casino billionaire who is among the country’s most prolific Republican political donors, is said to have communicated to Mr. Trump’s camp that he would prefer Mr. Gingrich, according to two Republicans familiar with his views. Mr. Kushner has been Mr. Adelson’s frequent point of contact with the campaign in recent weeks.

Mr. Adelson, who spent millions of dollars supporting Mr. Gingrich’s unsuccessful presidential campaign in 2012, has promised to give generously to groups supporting Mr. Trump, but does not appear to have cut any significant checks yet.

Mr. Trump may be merely reviewing his list of options one last time before making up his mind. But to some Republicans who have observed him in recent days, Mr. Trump has also appeared genuinely uncertain of the best course forward, and perhaps even of his own preferences.

In interviews and private meetings, Mr. Trump has named different qualities as paramount in his choice of a running mate. Throughout the Republican primaries, Mr. Trump expressed a strong preference for a vice president with knowledge of Capitol Hill. During a fund-raiser on Long Island last weekend, Mr. Trump said it would be essential for him to feel a relaxed personal connection with his running mate, and that the person would have to exhibit a superior knowledge of government.

In an interview this week with The Wall Street Journal, he added another characteristic to the wish list: His running mate, Mr. Trump said, must be an “attack dog.” But in an appearance on Fox News on Wednesday, he backtracked and said he was not looking for an attack dog.

The frenzied nature of Mr. Trump’s vice-presidential courtship underscores one of the recurring themes of his 2016 campaign: the presumptive nominee’s surprising remoteness from most of the other major figures in the Republican Party.

To the extent Mr. Trump places a premium on his personal relationship with a running mate, Mr. Christie or Mr. Gingrich may have a leg up, as he has been friends with both men over the years.

Mr. Pence, the favorite of the Trump political team and national Republican Party officials, is a comparatively unfamiliar face. If he would seem to be the safe choice politically, it would constitute a rare foray for Mr. Trump — going outside his personal comfort zone to make, perhaps, his most important decision of the general election.

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The threat emerged after the shooting death of Alton Sterling last week by Baton Rouge police, which has prompted weeklong protests by people concerned about police use of deadly force.
Riot police grab a protester after she refused to leave the road in Baton Rouge.

Riot police grab a protester after she refused to leave the road in Baton Rouge.

The “credible threat” was why law officers were quick to take aggressive action when they believed protesters were becoming unruly, Debadie and other top law enforcement officers told reporters Tuesday.
“We can’t take anything for granted any more,” said East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux. “What you saw in the (law enforcement) response is because of the very real and viable threats against law enforcement. Look what happened in Dallas. A very peaceful protest and then some crazy madman.”
Demonstrators march at the Louisiana Capitol on Saturday to protest the shooting of Alton Sterling.

Demonstrators march at the Louisiana Capitol on Saturday to protest the shooting of Alton Sterling.

Police said they learned of the plot when an officer responded to a burglary at Cash America Pawn early Saturday morning and arrested Antonio Thomas in the store, Debadie said.
Police said Thomas, 17, had one handgun and one airsoft BB gun, and told investigators he and three others stole firearms and were also seeking bullets to shoot police officers, the chief said.
Surveillance video showed the suspects using a ladder to climb to the roof to break into the building, police said.
Thomas was accused of burglary and theft of a firearm and booked into parish prison.
Since Saturday, detectives have arrested two other suspects in the case, including a 13-year-old boy. One suspect remains at large, the chief said.
Protesters face off with Baton Rouge police across the street from the police department on Saturday.

Protesters face off with Baton Rouge police across the street from the police department on Saturday.

Malik Bridgewater, 20, was arrested on Sunday at his home and was charged with burglary and theft of a firearm. Detectives recovered three of the stolen handguns with Bridgewater.
The 13-year-old boy was arrested Monday and charged with burglary and firearm theft, police said.
During the investigation, another man, Trashone Coats, 23, was charged with Illegal possession of a stolen firearm after detectives recovered two handguns that he allegedly bought illegally on the street.
Eight handguns were stolen from the pawnshop, six of which have been recovered, Debadie said.
“Our officers have been working around the clock to get these firearms off the streets of Baton Rouge,” he said.

CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian contributed to this report.

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Story highlights

  • Inmate killed after fatally shooting two bailiffs in Michigan courthouse
  • Incident occurs in Berrien County Courthouse in St. Joseph
Follow local coverage from CNN affiliates WOOD, WSBT, WNDU and WBND.
The inmate made it into a public hallway, where he shot a civilian in the arm, Bailey said. Other law enforcement officers opened fire and killed the man, he said.
The deputy and civilian suffered non-life threatening injuries and were treated at Lakeland Health in St. Joseph and are in stable condition, Bailey said.
Bailey wouldn’t say why the inmate was in custody, which officer had the gun that was taken or whether any protocols were violated. The slain officers worked “a long time” in law enforcement and had served as bailiffs about 10 years each.
“Our hearts are torn apart,” Bailey said. “They were our friends. They were our colleagues. I’ve known them over 30 years.”
The shootings occurred days after the slaying of five police officers in Dallas. Authorities didn’t mention any connection to the those killings, but Gov. Rick Snyder said, “This is a particularly tough time for law enforcement so I ask everybody to reach out and be supportive of law enforcement.”
The shooting happened about 2:30 p.m. on the third floor of the Berrien County Courthouse in St. Joseph, located on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, as a deputy and a bailiff removed the inmate from a holding cell to take him to a courtroom, Bailey said.
“They secured the door and the inmate started fighting with the bailiff and the deputy,” he said.
The inmate disarmed one of the officers, Bailey said. He killed the two bailiffs and wounded the deputy before running into the public corridor, where other officers shot and killed him.
Bailey said he didn’t know whether the inmate was handcuffed. The courthouse will be closed on Tuesday while Michigan State Police investigate.
St. Joseph is a town of about 8,300 on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, about 35 miles north of South Bend, Indiana, and some 100 miles by car from Chicago.

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Let there be healing after killing

Brooklyn: We who are left behind mourn the death of Alton Sterling, lying on the ground with no one to assist him. Diamond Reynolds, we cry for you not being able to hug the man you loved, Philando Castile, as his life was taken before your very eyes. Any movement to comfort him risked your life. Thank God you were able to live-stream the horror for all to see.

Only time can dull the memory of these heinous acts. To the Dallas Five assassinated in the line of duty, we thank you for your service. Heartfelt sympathy to all the families, friends and communities. Let us heal together and prevent these senseless deaths from furthering division. Dorothy Matthews

Whiting, N.J.: While I understand Shaun King’s point that the “time for us to be calm is long gone” and appreciate the fear and frustration of being black in America, I have to believe that the events in Dallas were not what he had in mind. Bill McConnell

Shame on the News

Springfield Gardens: I am incredibly perturbed and deeply alarmed by your use of Alton Sterling’s body on the cover of your July 7 newspaper. I am a black woman, a lifelong Queens resident and am vehemently disgusted by your choice to profit on black pain, suffering and death. We don’t need to see a body, gun wounds, blood and lifeless eyes. Sterling was a person, and that a newspaper like the Daily News chose to post his image for the mass consumption of millions, unwitting commuters, children and teenagers, families, passersby, etc., shows absolute disrespect and a cold indifference to black people and our humanity. Your desire to be an “in your face” news source is hinged on our further suffering. Janelle Marlena Edwards

Worth no words

Manhattan: As common as it is to show everything in a news story, out of respect for his family, friends and decency, could you please remove from your website the still photograph of Philando Castile as he lay bleeding with his eyes rolled into the back of his head and quite possibly dead? It isn’t necessary to the story. Caprice C. Corbett

Judge not

Rochester, Minn.: People nationwide are forming an opinion about what happened to Philando Castile based soley on the aftermath of the shooting. In the video, we don’t see what took place prior. We don’t see the shooting itself. We cannot justly judge anything in this video without knowing what took place beforehand. People are so quick to judge the after-effects of tragic situations. But the fact of the matter is, the only people who know the whole truth are the police, the woman, the man and God. The rest of us have no right to condemn or justify anything. If an officer of the law tells you to put your hands where they can see them, and after you inform them you are carrying a weapon, you reach into your pocket despite being told not to, the consequences of such actions are clear. They are not formed at a moment’s notice based on skin color. Amanda Jean Bradley

It goes both ways

Bayside: In Nicole Paultre Bell’s column on Alton Sterling (“Alton Sterling’s death should raise calls for justice against rotten cops,” July 6), she writes, “Every time an innocent man is killed, I’m right back to Nov. 25, 2006. Of course, there is anger and sadness. Seeing Sterling’s children at the news conference, I immediately thought about my own children who lost their dad Sean — Jada Bell, who is 13, and Jordyn Bell, who is 10.” Here’s my version of that quote: “Every time an innocent police Officer is killed, I’m right back to Dec. 28, 1974. Of course, there is anger and sadness. Seeing the police officer’s children at the news conference, I immediately thought about myself, who lost her, dad P.O. Kenneth Mahon. I was 3 years old at the time.” Melinda Mahon

No justice

Tampa: We expect police to protect the people, yet they are just as dangerous as anyone who commits a crime. I would be very suprised if these officers are found guilty because the judge and jury are predominantly Caucasian. Where is the justice for the African men? Bridgette Welch

No peace

Los Angeles: As a male of color, since I was a child I have lived by a code of conduct common to most of my peers. My goal since I can remember when dealing with the police was not to avoid being arrested; it was make it home alive. It upsets me that the rash of police shootings are being treated like they are a new phenomenon. People of color have been dying at the hands of the police since before I was born. So let me clarify the true meaning of the statement “black lives matter”: It means that black lives matter all the time and not just when other lives are affected. It means black lives are sufficient in and of themselves to justify public interest, action and outrage when they alone bear the brunt of injustice and denial of constitutional rights. When others pay attention to previously ignored problems and claim them as public domain, they do what I call a “Christopher Columbus”: asserting that what already existed did not exist until they became of aware of it and now claim it as their own. This is a condescending and contempt — eliciting behavior common in the American discourse, and as long as it exists and persists, racial relations in the country will be tumultuous at best. Anthony Rucker

Protect yourself

Brooklyn: If I am legally armed and you attack me in my car — as was the allegedly case in the road rage shooting — I would shoot you too. It’s called defending myself. If that had not been an armed off-duty cop Delrawn Smalls attacked, he simply would have done his damage, gotten back in his car and driven away. He made the choice to get out of his car. He chose wrong. Linda Calabrese

Swing and a miss

Fall River, Mass.: New York’s Hometown Newspaper aptly employed the word “rapturous” in its photo caption of Mets fans gleefully flocking with pens and baseballs outstretched for autographs from accused wife-beater Jose Reyes in the July 6 edition (“Amazin’ shame, fans”). The ecstatic image speaks volumes about our society’s mindless adulation of sports figures, alleged criminal history be damned. Charles Winokoor

Accentuate the positive

Walden, N.Y.: I have to agree with Voicers Scott Daly and Heather Whipple. I have never listened to a song and said, “I wonder what ethnicity takes credit for that song” — and I never thought the Red Cross poster was racist. Please, let’s stop looking for things to stir up controversy. Music is for all to enjoy, and the Red Cross poster was about pool safety. Life is way too short, and we are all here together. Let’s do our best to stop looking for things to start problems, but focus on the positives in life instead. Gail P. Ellis

Nothing to see here

Laguna Beach, Calif.: Thursday’s congressional hearing with FBI Director James Comey proved to be another partisan exercise in futility. I worked on Capitol Hill, so I know how the House works. This kind of sanctioned witchhunt, trying to find anything to hang former Secretary of State and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton with, is an abuse of power. Instead of finding a smoking gun, Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chair of the House Oversight Committee, and his colleagues barely uncovered a water pistol. In the best interests of the country, it’s time to move on. Denny Freidenrich

It’s IT

Bronxville, N.Y.: Hillary Clinton was as “exceedingly careless” of email communications as the CEO of Apple or any major corporate or government agency is careless. The information technology department is responsible for server and email security, not the user of the emails. When the CEO of Apple sends or receives emails containing trade secrets, he doesn’t concern himself that the communications are secure. It is the technical responsibility of IT to ensure the emails are encrypted and the email servers are secure from hackers. Clinton is not a Microsoft or Unix server certified IT professional. She did not set up the email servers or the security of the application running on the servers. This is a myth perpetrated by the media and GOP critics. I have worked in the IT field for over 30 years. Frank Mallia

Hillarygate

Massapequa, L.I.: Hillary Clinton is a walking, talking human scandal. After Whitewater, Travelgate, Vince Foster, Benghazi and numerous other issues, I am thoroughly convinced this woman could commit a murder on live television and not be charged with a crime. Thomas Ascher

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The message delivered at 9:47 a.m. Wednesday came after news broke of yet another killing of a black man by a white police officer. Philando Castile was killed in the front seat of his car after being pulled over for a broken taillight outside Minneapolis.
The message from the African American Defense League left little up for interpretation.
“The Pig has shot and killed Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana!: You and I know what we must do and I don’t mean marching, making a lot of noise, or attending conventions. We must “Rally The Troops!” It is time to visit Louisiana and hold a barbeque. The highlight of our occasion will be to sprinkle Pigs Blood!”
The apparent author of that post, Mauricelm-Lei Millere, has so far not responded to CNN’s request for comment. But from his Facebook page, CNN has discovered the killer of five Dallas police officers had visited and “liked” the AADL’s site.
Micah Johnson‘s online history shows he followed dozens of sites that focused on injustices committed on the black community. He visited and liked several websites dedicated to Black Lives Matter and the New Black Panthers, along with the Nation of Islam and the Black Riders Liberation Party, two groups the Southern Poverty Law Center considers hate groups.
One friend who spoke to CNN said Johnson was obsessed with the plight of blacks in the United States and would repeatedly watch the now 25-year-old videotaped beating of Rodney King.
“He was an expert on the history of the Martin Luther King assassination,” the friend said. “And he studied Malcolm X.”
The friend, who did not want to be named, also said Johnson had issues controlling his temper. “He was a good black man with a little bit of an anger problem.”
Those who study the online radicalization of terrorists are seeing a similar pattern in the story of Johnson, a young man who may have been searching for identity and internalizing the hate and anger he was reading online.
“Extremist groups generally use propaganda in the hopes of influencing people,” said J.M. Berger of the George Washington University Program on Extremism. “They are trying to encourage lone wolf attacks where someone will carry out an attack in the name of the ideology they believe in but not have any connection to the organization that is promoting the ideology.”
Berger said it’s a pattern that began with white supremacist groups 30 or 40 years ago. Terrorist groups like ISIS have taken the tactic online to social media. Now there is a concern groups considered black nationalist hate groups are employing the same tactics, and possibly inciting the same lone wolf style of violence.
“It’s not clear that they are pursuing that as an organized strategy. But certainly they are putting out incendiary content and if someone who is inclined toward violence is reading that, they may fixate on that content as a reason to take action,” Berger said.
One of those incendiary messages was posted then quickly deleted by the African American Defense League Thursday: “…calling on the gangs across the nation! Attack everything in blue…”
We may never know what, if any, online messages inspired or incited Johnson to attack Dallas police, but Berger said it’s not insignificant that he showed affinity for this material.
On Thursday, the FBI sent a nationwide bulletin to law enforcement warning of online messaging that could inspire attacks against police. In the several-page warning, the FBI showed violent messaging that included the graphic depiction of a police officer’s throat being cut.
Tom Fuentes, a former associate director with the FBI, said the messages and those behind them should be treated the same way the federal government investigates ISIS.
“It’s no different than the ISIS propaganda that goes out,” Fuentes said. “And the question
for law enforcement is where do you draw the line between free speech and something else? If a message is espousing someone to take action, even if they inspire one guy to strike out, isn’t that enough?”
Fuentes said the FBI keeps track of hate groups online with the help of the Southern Poverty Law Center. But because the groups are mostly run by U.S. citizens, the FBI has larger barriers to what and how it can monitor groups protected by the right to free speech.
Fuentes said it’s a fine line and “some of these groups seem to be walking right up to that line.”
After the shootings and the death of Johnson, one of those Facebook sites devoted to the teachings of Elijah Mohammed took a page form the online playbook of ISIS and made the Dallas cop killer a martyr.
The site posted Johnson’s photo with the message, “R.I.P.” for the man who “stood up to injustice.”

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In the traumatic hours after a deadly ambush of Dallas police, and outpouring of grief and sympathy flooded the Dallas police station. (Dalton Bennett/The Washington Post)

DALLAS — President Obama on Saturday sought to calm a country riven by grief and anger in the wake of the fatal shooting of five police officers in Dallas and recent high-profile deaths at the hands of officers elsewhere.

Obama’s comments came as Dallas continued to reel from the rampage while protests over how police use deadly force continued in cities across the country.

In a sign of the tensions, SWAT teams and other teams mobilized around the city’s police headquarters after an unspecified threat. No suspect or dangerous item was located, police said, but the sweeping response showed the level of heightened alert.

“The Dallas Police Department received an anonymous threat against law enforcement across the city and has taken precautionary measures to heightened security,” Monica Cordova, a police spokeswoman, said in a statement.

In Dallas, the downtown area where a lone attacker killed the officers in a rampage authorities said was fueled by racial animus remained quiet throughout much of the day Saturday while investigators pored over the crime scene and the gunman’s background, including a journal describing “combat-style” tactics such as firing and moving to a new position.

In cities around the country, demonstrations over police shootings flared in more than a dozen cities, while others were infused with sober reflection over the carnage in Dallas.

“As painful as this week has been, I firmly believe that America is not as divided as some have suggested,” President Obama said Saturday while in Poland for a NATO summit. “Americans of all races and all backgrounds are rightly outraged by the inexcusable attacks on police, whether it’s in Dallas or any place else.”

On Saturday afternoon, the Dallas police said they were increasing security after receiving a threat that came in less than 48 hours after the deadly shooting rampage that also injured seven officers.

“The Dallas Police Department received an anonymous threat against law enforcement across the city and has taken precautionary measures to heightened security,” Monica Cordova, a police spokeswoman, said in a statement.

Officers with tactical gear, as well as what appeared to be SWAT officers and a SWAT vehicle, were seen in the area. A street near the department was closed down, and officers were seen hurrying around the building while reporters were told to move to one side of the headquarters.

While some reports said the headquarters was locked down, police said this was untrue. Instead, police said they were “searching the police parking garage for a suspicious person.”

At a news conference at the NATO summit in Poland, President Obama talked about the ambush that left five Dallas police officers dead on Thursday during a demonstration. Obama plans to visit Dallas early next week. (Reuters)

Police say the attacker in Thursday’s rampage — identified as Micah Xavier Johnson, a black 25-year-old from a nearby suburb — told them he was angry over police killings of black men, an issue that surged back into the news this week after these recent incidents in Baton Rouge, La., and outside St. Paul, Minn. Before authorities used a bomb to kill Johnson, they say he told police he wanted to kill white officers.

“The suspect said he was upset about black lives matter,” David Brown, the Dallas police chief, said of the attacker’s comments. “He said he was upset about the recent police shootings. The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.”

[The victims of the Dallas protest shooting]

Brown said the attacker’s comments were made during a prolonged, and at times violent, standoff that followed the brutal shooting rampage Thursday night during a peaceful protest over police shootings.

A journal “filled with combat-type tactics” was recovered from the suspect’s home, said Judge Clay Jenkins, Dallas County’s chief executive. The “somewhat voluminous” journal includes “shoot and move” strategies, Jenkins said.

“It’s a concept of wanting to move from vantage point to vantage point, without being pinned down in one location, to inflict as much damage as possible,” Jenkins said.

The journal was one piece of a puzzle that has led investigators to believe that the suspect acted alone. Initially, because gunfire appeared to have come from multiple locations, shooting people at different angles, authorities believed more than one suspect could have been involved.

The attack fused two topics that have roiled the country in recent years — mass shootings and outrage over how police use force — bringing them together in a horrific way decried by law enforcement officials around the country and activists protesting police shootings alike.

Obama said “Americans of all races and all backgrounds are also rightly saddened and angered” over the deaths this week of black men fatally shot by police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota. He also tied the mass shooting here to some of the rampages that have claimed dozens of lives since last year, invoking the rampages at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C.; a gay club in Orlando; and an office party in San Bernardino, Calif.

“We cannot let the actions of a few define all of us,” Obama said. “The demented individual who carried out those attacks in Dallas, he’s no more representative of African Americans than the shooter in Charleston was representative of white Americans, or the shooter in Orlando, or San Bernardino, were representative of Muslim Americans,” Obama said. “They don’t speak for us. That’s not who we are.”

Across the country on Friday, activists and demonstrators continued to do what they have done on other nights this week, taking to the streets for vigils and protests — large and small, some calm and others more animated, a series of events echoing those that followed cases where black people died during encounters with police in Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore and New York City.

In Dallas, details of the shooting — and the gunman who authorities say injured seven officers and two civilians in addition to killing five officers — were still coming into focus Saturday, as investigators sought to piece together what happened before and during the attack.

Around the stretch of downtown where the shooting occurred, signs of violence still littered the streets. Police officers monitoring the perimeter of the crime scene mixed Saturday with reporters and occasional people walking their dogs in Belo Garden Park. Shattered glass remained on the ground along Elm Street. A handful of FBI investigators, wearing gloves and blue booties on their feet, came and went from the scene.

A makeshift memorial of flowers sat at the base of three flagpoles not far from where the shooting began. Someone had tied a red T-shirt tied around one of the poles with the words, “Police Lives Matter.”

A woman knelt nearby, her eyes shut tight, praying. A mile south at the Dallas Police Headquarters, a memorial to the five fallen officers had continued to grow. Flowers, balloons and ribbons covered a Dallas police cruiser and a Dallas Area Rapid Transit car. Hundreds of people had handwritten left notes on cards stamped with the phrase, “We unite.” “Prayers for you and for all law enforcement,” a woman named Rita had written. “We will forever be grateful for all y’all do,” a man named Jeremiah had written.

“Texans have always shown trademark resilience, which is needed now more than ever,” Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said.

Protests took place in cities across the country on Friday to condemn police brutality. In Atlanta, some demonstrators blocked a highway and in Phoenix police used tear gas and pepper spray to break up a protest. People in Dallas gathered outside of the police headquarters to remember the five officers killed in an ambush. (Claritza Jimenez/The Washington Post)

Two days earlier, a calm protest over police shootings — one of many that occurred Thursday night across the country — was suddenly riven by violence when a gunman began firing at police assembled for the demonstration.

Dallas Mayor Michael S. Rawlings said that Johnson “was a mobile shooter that had written manifestos on how to shoot and move, shoot and move, and he did that.”

Because Johnson moved through a part of downtown Dallas on Thursday night, firing at officers from multiple locations, police had said after the attack that they believed “two snipers” were firing “from elevated positions.” A day later, Rawlings and other officials said they now believed Johnson was the lone attacker.

[Dallas shooter ‘was a good kid’, says neighbor. ‘I believe he just snapped.’]

“He did his damage, but we did our damage to him as well,” Rawlings said. “And we believe now that the city is safe and that the suspect is dead and we can move on to healing.”

Police had also said they took three other people into custody — two men and a woman — but they have offered no word on if these people were still being held or why. A Dallas police spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

The chilling nature and deadly scale of the attack sent shock waves through the country, a third day of violence viewed through graphic videos, first from Baton Rouge, then from a suburb of St. Paul, Minn., that showed the shootings or the aftermath.

Fear rippled through law enforcement nationwide as police chiefs from Washington to Los Angeles ordered patrol officers to go out in pairs for safety. Officers were also shot in Missouri and Georgia in separate incidents, leaving one in critical condition.

[A peaceful protest gives way to an urban war zone]

And investigators in Tennessee said they believed a man who opened fire on a parkway before exchanging gunfire with police may have been motivated by concerns over encounters involving police and black Americans. The shooting spree, which occurred before the Dallas attack but after anger was boiling over from the Louisiana and Minnesota shootings, left one woman dead and two people injured. A Bristol, Tenn., police officer was also shot in the leg before officers shot and wounded the attacker.

The bloodshed in Dallas marked the deadliest single day for the nation’s police since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, with five officers killed and seven others injured.

Gunfire began here around 9 p.m. Thursday, and while people scrambled for cover and sheltered in place and police tried to figure out what they were confronting, some people in the area posted videos to social media showing the killings in real time. One video showed a person with an assault-style rifle shooting a police officer in the back at point-blank range.

Johnson at one point fled to a college building downtown, authorities say. For hours after the initial assault, police were locked in a standoff with the shooter, exchanging gunfire and negotiating with him. During these discussions, he told police they would eventually find explosives he planted, but as of Saturday, authorities have not said they found any devices.

At his home, they did find the well-known tools of the mass murderer: bomb-making and ballistic materials, more guns and ammunition. They also found “a personal journal of combat tactics,” which detectives are still analyzing, the Dallas police said Friday.

[Dallas Police Chief David Brown lost his son, former partner and brother to violence]

Brown said police placed an explosive device on their bomb robot and used it to kill Johnson. Rawlings said the robot was the same kind typically used to detonate and defuse bombs, and in this case was used to place C-4 explosives and detonate them.

Police said they believed Johnson was a “loner” from Mesquite, a Dallas suburb. He had no criminal record before the attack.

Avis Blanton, who lived next door to Micah Xavier Johnson and his family for more than 12 years in Mesquite, said Johnson “was a good kid. He was truly, truly good.” In an interview Friday, she said she believes Johnson “just snapped.”

“Black folks are tired,” Blanton, 43, said. “We are just tired. I am not justifying what he did, but I see why he did it.”

An Army reservist who had deployed to Afghanistan — and, according to the Associated Press, was accused of sexual harassment by a female soldier while there — Johnson killed fellow veterans. Four of the five slain officers had served in the military.

Brent Thompson, 43, was a transit police officer and a newlywed. Patrick Zamarripa, 32, had served three tours in Iraq. Michael Krol, 40, had joined the Dallas police in 2008. Lorne Ahrens, a former semi-pro football player, had been with the department for 14 years. Michael Smith, a father of two, liked to give department stickers to the children at his church.

Outside police headquarters Friday, a steady stream of locals paid their respects, draping flowers and toys across police cars. Gathered in the shade, a band of officers watched quietly. Several had rushed from their homes the night before to try to help. “I pulled on my uniform and came to protect my brothers,” said one officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “I haven’t slept — I can’t. I knew every one of the guys who died.”

[Police nationwide order officers to ride in pairs after Dallas police ambush]

President Obama, who ordered flags flown at half-staff until Tuesday, said he would cut short a trip to Europe and return early so he can visit Dallas next week. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch vowed that the Justice Department would do anything it could to help with the investigation. Lynch also said she was “heartbroken” by the loss and urged peaceful protesters not to “be discouraged by those who use your lawful actions as cover for their heinous violence.”

Meanwhile, in Dallas — after the shooting, after police dealt with the gunman, after the chaos gave way to grief — Rawlings said he couldn’t shake a memory from those early hours. He remembered the moment he learned that a fifth officer had died.

“We were thinking, when is it going to stop?” he said. “Five officers killed – this just doesn’t happen in the United States of America.”

Dennis reported from Dallas. Wan and Berman reported from Washington. Joel Achenbach, Jamie Thompson, Louisa Loveluck and Keith L. Alexander in Dallas; and Julie Tate, Jennifer Jenkins, Tom Jackman, Peter Hermann, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Magda Jean-Louis and Brian Murphy in Washington contributed to this report.

Further reading:

Nation’s officers on edge as deaths in Dallas bring yearly toll among police to 25

‘Vicious’ attack on police in Dallas by black shooter raises pressure on Obama

Bahamas issues travel advisory for the U.S. aimed at interactions with police

[This story has been updated.]

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In the traumatic hours after a deadly ambush of Dallas police, and outpouring of grief and sympathy flooded the Dallas police station. (Dalton Bennett/The Washington Post)

DALLAS — President Obama on Saturday sought to calm a country riven by grief and anger in the wake of the fatal shooting of five police officers in Dallas and recent high-profile deaths at the hands of officers elsewhere.

Obama’s comments came as Dallas continued to reel from the rampage while protests over how police use deadly force continued in cities across the country.

In a sign of the tensions, SWAT teams and other teams mobilized around the city’s police headquarters after an unspecified threat. No suspect or dangerous item was located, police said, but the sweeping response showed the level of heightened alert.

“The Dallas Police Department received an anonymous threat against law enforcement across the city and has taken precautionary measures to heightened security,” Monica Cordova, a police spokeswoman, said in a statement.

In Dallas, the downtown area where a lone attacker killed the officers in a rampage authorities said was fueled by racial animus remained quiet throughout much of the day Saturday while investigators pored over the crime scene and the gunman’s background, including a journal describing “combat-style” tactics such as firing and moving to a new position.

In cities around the country, demonstrations over police shootings flared in more than a dozen cities, while others were infused with sober reflection over the carnage in Dallas.

“As painful as this week has been, I firmly believe that America is not as divided as some have suggested,” President Obama said Saturday while in Poland for a NATO summit. “Americans of all races and all backgrounds are rightly outraged by the inexcusable attacks on police, whether it’s in Dallas or any place else.”

On Saturday afternoon, the Dallas police said they were increasing security after receiving a threat that came in less than 48 hours after the deadly shooting rampage that also injured seven officers.

“The Dallas Police Department received an anonymous threat against law enforcement across the city and has taken precautionary measures to heightened security,” Monica Cordova, a police spokeswoman, said in a statement.

Officers with tactical gear, as well as what appeared to be SWAT officers and a SWAT vehicle, were seen in the area. A street near the department was closed down, and officers were seen hurrying around the building while reporters were told to move to one side of the headquarters.

While some reports said the headquarters was locked down, police said this was untrue. Instead, police said they were “searching the police parking garage for a suspicious person.”

At a news conference at the NATO summit in Poland, President Obama talked about the ambush that left five Dallas police officers dead on Thursday during a demonstration. Obama plans to visit Dallas early next week. (Reuters)

Police say the attacker in Thursday’s rampage — identified as Micah Xavier Johnson, a black 25-year-old from a nearby suburb — told them he was angry over police killings of black men, an issue that surged back into the news this week after these recent incidents in Baton Rouge, La., and outside St. Paul, Minn. Before authorities used a bomb to kill Johnson, they say he told police he wanted to kill white officers.

“The suspect said he was upset about black lives matter,” David Brown, the Dallas police chief, said of the attacker’s comments. “He said he was upset about the recent police shootings. The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.”

[The victims of the Dallas protest shooting]

Brown said the attacker’s comments were made during a prolonged, and at times violent, standoff that followed the brutal shooting rampage Thursday night during a peaceful protest over police shootings.

A journal “filled with combat-type tactics” was recovered from the suspect’s home, said Judge Clay Jenkins, Dallas County’s chief executive. The “somewhat voluminous” journal includes “shoot and move” strategies, Jenkins said.

“It’s a concept of wanting to move from vantage point to vantage point, without being pinned down in one location, to inflict as much damage as possible,” Jenkins said.

The journal was one piece of a puzzle that has led investigators to believe that the suspect acted alone. Initially, because gunfire appeared to have come from multiple locations, shooting people at different angles, authorities believed more than one suspect could have been involved.

The attack fused two topics that have roiled the country in recent years — mass shootings and outrage over how police use force — bringing them together in a horrific way decried by law enforcement officials around the country and activists protesting police shootings alike.

Obama said “Americans of all races and all backgrounds are also rightly saddened and angered” over the deaths this week of black men fatally shot by police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota. He also tied the mass shooting here to some of the rampages that have claimed dozens of lives since last year, invoking the rampages at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C.; a gay club in Orlando; and an office party in San Bernardino, Calif.

“We cannot let the actions of a few define all of us,” Obama said. “The demented individual who carried out those attacks in Dallas, he’s no more representative of African Americans than the shooter in Charleston was representative of white Americans, or the shooter in Orlando, or San Bernardino, were representative of Muslim Americans,” Obama said. “They don’t speak for us. That’s not who we are.”

Across the country on Friday, activists and demonstrators continued to do what they have done on other nights this week, taking to the streets for vigils and protests — large and small, some calm and others more animated, a series of events echoing those that followed cases where black people died during encounters with police in Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore and New York City.

In Dallas, details of the shooting — and the gunman who authorities say injured seven officers and two civilians in addition to killing five officers — were still coming into focus Saturday, as investigators sought to piece together what happened before and during the attack.

Around the stretch of downtown where the shooting occurred, signs of violence still littered the streets. Police officers monitoring the perimeter of the crime scene mixed Saturday with reporters and occasional people walking their dogs in Belo Garden Park. Shattered glass remained on the ground along Elm Street. A handful of FBI investigators, wearing gloves and blue booties on their feet, came and went from the scene.

A makeshift memorial of flowers sat at the base of three flagpoles not far from where the shooting began. Someone had tied a red T-shirt tied around one of the poles with the words, “Police Lives Matter.”

A woman knelt nearby, her eyes shut tight, praying. A mile south at the Dallas Police Headquarters, a memorial to the five fallen officers had continued to grow. Flowers, balloons and ribbons covered a Dallas police cruiser and a Dallas Area Rapid Transit car. Hundreds of people had handwritten left notes on cards stamped with the phrase, “We unite.” “Prayers for you and for all law enforcement,” a woman named Rita had written. “We will forever be grateful for all y’all do,” a man named Jeremiah had written.

“Texans have always shown trademark resilience, which is needed now more than ever,” Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said.

Protests took place in cities across the country on Friday to condemn police brutality. In Atlanta, some demonstrators blocked a highway and in Phoenix police used tear gas and pepper spray to break up a protest. People in Dallas gathered outside of the police headquarters to remember the five officers killed in an ambush. (Claritza Jimenez/The Washington Post)

Two days earlier, a calm protest over police shootings — one of many that occurred Thursday night across the country — was suddenly riven by violence when a gunman began firing at police assembled for the demonstration.

Dallas Mayor Michael S. Rawlings said that Johnson “was a mobile shooter that had written manifestos on how to shoot and move, shoot and move, and he did that.”

Because Johnson moved through a part of downtown Dallas on Thursday night, firing at officers from multiple locations, police had said after the attack that they believed “two snipers” were firing “from elevated positions.” A day later, Rawlings and other officials said they now believed Johnson was the lone attacker.

[Dallas shooter ‘was a good kid’, says neighbor. ‘I believe he just snapped.’]

“He did his damage, but we did our damage to him as well,” Rawlings said. “And we believe now that the city is safe and that the suspect is dead and we can move on to healing.”

Police had also said they took three other people into custody — two men and a woman — but they have offered no word on if these people were still being held or why. A Dallas police spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

The chilling nature and deadly scale of the attack sent shock waves through the country, a third day of violence viewed through graphic videos, first from Baton Rouge, then from a suburb of St. Paul, Minn., that showed the shootings or the aftermath.

Fear rippled through law enforcement nationwide as police chiefs from Washington to Los Angeles ordered patrol officers to go out in pairs for safety. Officers were also shot in Missouri and Georgia in separate incidents, leaving one in critical condition.

[A peaceful protest gives way to an urban war zone]

And investigators in Tennessee said they believed a man who opened fire on a parkway before exchanging gunfire with police may have been motivated by concerns over encounters involving police and black Americans. The shooting spree, which occurred before the Dallas attack but after anger was boiling over from the Louisiana and Minnesota shootings, left one woman dead and two people injured. A Bristol, Tenn., police officer was also shot in the leg before officers shot and wounded the attacker.

The bloodshed in Dallas marked the deadliest single day for the nation’s police since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, with five officers killed and seven others injured.

Gunfire began here around 9 p.m. Thursday, and while people scrambled for cover and sheltered in place and police tried to figure out what they were confronting, some people in the area posted videos to social media showing the killings in real time. One video showed a person with an assault-style rifle shooting a police officer in the back at point-blank range.

Johnson at one point fled to a college building downtown, authorities say. For hours after the initial assault, police were locked in a standoff with the shooter, exchanging gunfire and negotiating with him. During these discussions, he told police they would eventually find explosives he planted, but as of Saturday, authorities have not said they found any devices.

At his home, they did find the well-known tools of the mass murderer: bomb-making and ballistic materials, more guns and ammunition. They also found “a personal journal of combat tactics,” which detectives are still analyzing, the Dallas police said Friday.

[Dallas Police Chief David Brown lost his son, former partner and brother to violence]

Brown said police placed an explosive device on their bomb robot and used it to kill Johnson. Rawlings said the robot was the same kind typically used to detonate and defuse bombs, and in this case was used to place C-4 explosives and detonate them.

Police said they believed Johnson was a “loner” from Mesquite, a Dallas suburb. He had no criminal record before the attack.

Avis Blanton, who lived next door to Micah Xavier Johnson and his family for more than 12 years in Mesquite, said Johnson “was a good kid. He was truly, truly good.” In an interview Friday, she said she believes Johnson “just snapped.”

“Black folks are tired,” Blanton, 43, said. “We are just tired. I am not justifying what he did, but I see why he did it.”

An Army reservist who had deployed to Afghanistan — and, according to the Associated Press, was accused of sexual harassment by a female soldier while there — Johnson killed fellow veterans. Four of the five slain officers had served in the military.

Brent Thompson, 43, was a transit police officer and a newlywed. Patrick Zamarripa, 32, had served three tours in Iraq. Michael Krol, 40, had joined the Dallas police in 2008. Lorne Ahrens, a former semi-pro football player, had been with the department for 14 years. Michael Smith, a father of two, liked to give department stickers to the children at his church.

Outside police headquarters Friday, a steady stream of locals paid their respects, draping flowers and toys across police cars. Gathered in the shade, a band of officers watched quietly. Several had rushed from their homes the night before to try to help. “I pulled on my uniform and came to protect my brothers,” said one officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “I haven’t slept — I can’t. I knew every one of the guys who died.”

[Police nationwide order officers to ride in pairs after Dallas police ambush]

President Obama, who ordered flags flown at half-staff until Tuesday, said he would cut short a trip to Europe and return early so he can visit Dallas next week. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch vowed that the Justice Department would do anything it could to help with the investigation. Lynch also said she was “heartbroken” by the loss and urged peaceful protesters not to “be discouraged by those who use your lawful actions as cover for their heinous violence.”

Meanwhile, in Dallas — after the shooting, after police dealt with the gunman, after the chaos gave way to grief — Rawlings said he couldn’t shake a memory from those early hours. He remembered the moment he learned that a fifth officer had died.

“We were thinking, when is it going to stop?” he said. “Five officers killed – this just doesn’t happen in the United States of America.”

Dennis reported from Dallas. Wan and Berman reported from Washington. Joel Achenbach, Jamie Thompson, Louisa Loveluck and Keith L. Alexander in Dallas; and Julie Tate, Jennifer Jenkins, Tom Jackman, Peter Hermann, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Magda Jean-Louis and Brian Murphy in Washington contributed to this report.

Further reading:

Nation’s officers on edge as deaths in Dallas bring yearly toll among police to 25

‘Vicious’ attack on police in Dallas by black shooter raises pressure on Obama

Bahamas issues travel advisory for the U.S. aimed at interactions with police

[This story has been updated.]

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By and ,

WARSAW — After a crushing week of attacks, protests and anger, President Obama touched on the values that unite Americans before diving headlong into the debate over guns, one of the most divisive issues of his presidency.

The president, speaking on Saturday at the NATO summit here, suggested that the licensed gun in the car of Philando Castile, who was shot by police in Minnesota during a routine traffic stop, had contributed to the tragedy there. Castile died as his girlfriend live-streamed video of him bleeding to death while an armed police officer stood a few feet away.

“We don’t know what happened, but we do know that there was a gun in the car that apparently was licensed, but it caused in some fashion those tragic events,” Obama said of Castile’s shooting.

[The NRA’s internal revolt over Philando Castile]

Castile’s death and the killing of Alton Sterling by police in Baton Rouge set off waves of protests across the United States last week. At one of those marches in Dallas, a gunman killed five police officers who were providing security at the march.

“This has been a tough week, first and foremost for the families of those who have been killed, but also for the entire American family,” Obama said at a news conference here.

Obama had been scheduled to return to Washington on Monday after two days in Spain, but he decided to curtail his trip and come back Sunday night after a meeting with that country’s interim prime minister and a visit with U.S. military personnel. He is expected to visit Dallas early next week.

Obama emphasized in his remarks to reporters that the United States “is not as divided as some have suggested,” and he noted that Americans of “all races and backgrounds” were outraged by the attacks on police.

On the gun issue, he said the polarization in the country pitted “a very intense minority” against the “majority of Americans who actually think we could be doing better when it comes to gun safety.”

The president described the prevalence of guns in some poor neighborhoods as a contributing factor to the broader tensions between police and the people they are supposed to protect. He cited the deadly protest in Dallas on Thursday as an example.

[Graphic: How the Dallas attack unfolded]

Obama said some of the protesters in Dallas, a large city in a state where people can openly carry weapons with a license, were armed during the march.

“Imagine if you are a police officer and you are trying to sort out who is shooting at you and there are a bunch of people who have got guns on them,” he added.

He vowed to continue talking about the need for gun reforms, even in the aftermath of the tragedies.

“We can’t just ignore that and pretend that’s somehow political or the president is pushing his policy agenda,” Obama said. “It is a contributing factor. Not the sole factor, but a contributing factor to the broader tensions that arise between police and the communities that they serve. And so we have to talk about that.”

Although Dallas and violence at home became the public focus of Obama’s trip to Warsaw, the president said Saturday that NATO leaders had taken important steps to address security far beyond U.S. borders, with deployments to Eastern Europe to defend against Russia and to the Mediterranean to handle migrant flows, as well as an extension of the Afghanistan mission to bolster shaky security there.

[NATO will expand security patrols in Mediterranean in response to ISIS threat]

“We’re moving forward with the most significant reinforcement of our collective defense any time since the Cold War,” Obama said. At the NATO summit, Obama announced plans for a U.S.-led battalion of about 1,000 troops that will deploy to Poland. Three other battalions will be sent to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

As he heads toward his final months in office, Obama acknowledged a wide range of challenges to global security that will extend far into the future. The Islamic State’s territorial losses in Iraq and Syria in recent weeks could spur the group to launch global terrorist attacks, he said.

Obama praised the post-World War II legacy of NATO and other global institutions that have prevented wars between states and set off a period of unprecedented prosperity. He suggested that Britain’s decision to split from the European Union could hurt the global economy and said he was counseling Britain and the E.U. to split in a way that would cushion the economic blow.

Speaking of the legacy of global institutions such as the E.U., NATO and the United Nations, he said, “We should be proud of that and preserve it.”

But, he said, threats such as the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, which do not obey territorial bounds, could not be definitively defeated in traditional ways. Such groups guarantee that the United States will be waging at least low-level combat for years, possibly decades.

Because groups like the Islamic State are “non-state actors, it’s very hard for us ever to get the satisfaction of MacArthur and the emperor meeting and a war being officially over,” Obama said, referring to the U.S. general and Japanese leader at the end of World War II.

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In the traumatic hours after a deadly ambush of Dallas police, and outpouring of grief and sympathy flooded the Dallas police station. (Dalton Bennett/The Washington Post)

DALLAS — Investigators continued Saturday to explore the background of the lone attacker who targeted and killed five police officers here and wounded seven others, a brutal and methodical act of racial hatred.

Even as authorities looked into his life in Texas and his Army tour in Afghanistan, the area around downtown Dallas was a ghost town Saturday morning, largely empty except for the police officers guarding the crime scene and reporters milling about. But there was much more activity in cities around the country, as protests over police shootings had continued the night before, some of them heated while others were infused with sober reflection over the carnage in Dallas.

Police say the attacker in Dallas — identified as Micah Xavier Johnson, a black 25-year-old from outside Dallas — told them he was fueled by anger over police killings of black men, an issue that surged back into the news this week after officers shot and killed people in Louisiana and Minnesota. Before authorities used a bomb to kill Johnson, they say he told police he wanted to kill white officers.

“The suspect said he was upset about black lives matter,” David Brown, the Dallas police chief, said of the attacker’s comments. “He said he was upset about the recent police shootings. The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.”

Brown said these comments were made during a prolonged, and at times violent, standoff that followed the brutal shooting rampage Thursday night during a peaceful protest over police shootings. This attack fused two subjects that have repeatedly torn at American society in recent years — mass shootings and outrage over how police use force — bringing them together in a horrific way decried by law enforcement officials around the country and activists protesting police shootings alike.

Across the country Friday night, activists and demonstrators again took to the streets for vigils and protests — large and small, some calm and others more animated, a series of events echoing those that followed cases where black people died during encounters with police in Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore and New York City.

[The victims of the Dallas protest shooting]

In Dallas, details of the shooting — and the gunman who authorities say injured seven officers and two civilians in addition to killing five officers — were still coming into focus Saturday, as investigators sought to piece together what happened before and during the attack.

Around the stretch of downtown where the shooting occurred, signs of violence still littered the streets. Police officers monitoring the perimeter of the crime scene mixed Saturday with reporters and occasional people walking their dogs in Belo Garden Park. Shattered glass remained on the ground along Elm Street. A handful of FBI investigators, wearing gloves and blue booties on their feet, came and went from the scene.

A makeshift memorial of flowers sat at the base of three flagpoles not far from where the shooting began. Someone had tied a red T-shirt tied around one of the poles with the words, “Police Lives Matter.”

A woman knelt nearby, her eyes shut tight, praying. A mile south at the Dallas Police Headquarters, a memorial to the five fallen officers had continued to grow. Flowers, balloons and ribbons covered a Dallas police cruiser and a Dallas Area Rapid Transit car. Hundreds of people had handwritten left notes on cards stamped with the phrase, “We unite.” “Prayers for you and for all law enforcement,” a woman named Rita had written. “We will forever be grateful for all y’all do,” a man named Jeremiah had written.

“Texans have always shown trademark resilience, which is needed now more than ever,” Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said.

Protests took place in cities across the country on Friday to condemn police brutality. In Atlanta, some demonstrators blocked a highway and in Phoenix police used tear gas and pepper spray to break up a protest. People in Dallas gathered outside of the police headquarters to remember the five officers killed in an ambush. (Claritza Jimenez/The Washington Post)

Two days earlier, a calm protest over police shootings — one of many that occurred Thursday night across the country — was suddenly riven by violence when a gunman began firing at police assembled for the demonstration.

Dallas Mayor Michael S. Rawlings said that Johnson “was a mobile shooter that had written manifestos on how to shoot and move, shoot and move, and he did that.”

Because Johnson moved through a part of downtown Dallas on Thursday night, firing at officers from multiple locations, police had said after the attack that they believed “two snipers” were firing “from elevated positions.” A day later, Rawlings and other officials said they now believed Johnson was the lone attacker.

[Dallas shooter ‘was a good kid’, says neighbor. ‘I believe he just snapped.’]

“He did his damage, but we did our damage to him as well,” Rawlings said. “And we believe now that the city is safe and that the suspect is dead and we can move on to healing.”

Police had also said they took three other people into custody — two men and a woman — but they have offered no word on if these people were still being held or why. A Dallas police spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

Michael O’Mahoney, a former police officer, places his patch on a make-shift memorial at the Dallas police headquarters on Friday. (Eric Gay/AP)

The chilling nature and deadly scale of the attack sent shock waves through the country, a third day of violence viewed through graphic videos, first from Baton Rouge, then from a suburb of St. Paul, Minn., that showed the shootings or the aftermath.

Fear rippled through law enforcement nationwide as police chiefs from Washington to Los Angeles ordered patrol officers to go out in pairs for safety. Officers were also shot in Missouri and Georgia in separate incidents, leaving one in critical condition.

[A peaceful protest gives way to an urban war zone]

And investigators in Tennessee said they believed a man who opened fire on a parkway before exchanging gunfire with police may have been motivated by concerns over encounters involving police and black Americans. The shooting spree, which occurred before the Dallas attack but after anger was boiling over from the Louisiana and Minnesota shootings, left one woman dead and two people injured. A Bristol, Tenn., police officer was also shot in the leg before officers shot and wounded the attacker.

The bloodshed in Dallas marked the deadliest single day for the nation’s police since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, with five officers killed and seven others injured.

Gunfire began here around 9 p.m. Thursday, and while people scrambled for cover and sheltered in place and police tried to figure out what they were confronting, some people in the area posted videos to social media showing the killings in real time. One video showed a person with an assault-style rifle shooting a police officer in the back at point-blank range.

Johnson at one point fled to a college building downtown, authorities say. For hours after the initial assault, police were locked in a standoff with the shooter, exchanging gunfire and negotiating with him. During these discussions, he told police they would eventually find explosives he planted, but as of Saturday, authorities have not said they found any devices.

At his home, they did find the well-known tools of the mass murderer: bomb-making and ballistic materials, more guns and ammunition. They also found “a personal journal of combat tactics,” which detectives are still analyzing, the Dallas police said Friday.

[Dallas Police Chief David Brown lost his son, former partner and brother to violence]

Brown said police placed an explosive device on their bomb robot and used it to kill Johnson. Rawlings said the robot was the same kind typically used to detonate and defuse bombs, and in this case was used to place C-4 explosives and detonate them.

Police said they believed Johnson was a “loner” from Mesquite, a Dallas suburb. He had no criminal record before the attack.

Avis Blanton, who lived next door to Micah Xavier Johnson and his family for more than 12 years in Mesquite, said Johnson “was a good kid. He was truly, truly good.” In an interview Friday, she said she believes Johnson “just snapped.”

“Black folks are tired,” Blanton, 43, said. “We are just tired. I am not justifying what he did, but I see why he did it.”

Jim Otwell, who lives in Mesquite, TX, says the last time he spoke to Micah Johnson was in 2015. The Dallas shooter had asked him for help after Johnson said a number of guns were stolen from his home. (Ashleigh Joplin/The Washington Post)

An Army reservist who had deployed to Afghanistan, Johnson killed fellow veterans. Four of the five slain officers had served in the military.

Brent Thompson, 43, was a transit police officer and a newlywed. Patrick Zamarripa, 32, had served three tours in Iraq. Michael Krol, 40, had joined the Dallas police in 2008. Lorne Ahrens, a former semi-pro football player, had been with the department for 14 years. Michael Smith, a father of two, liked to give department stickers to the children at his church.

Outside police headquarters Friday, a steady stream of locals paid their respects, draping flowers and toys across police cars. Gathered in the shade, a band of officers watched quietly. Several had rushed from their homes the night before to try to help. “I pulled on my uniform and came to protect my brothers,” said one officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “I haven’t slept — I can’t. I knew every one of the guys who died.”

[Police nationwide order officers to ride in pairs after Dallas police ambush]

President Obama, who ordered flags flown at half-staff until Tuesday, said he would cut short a trip to Europe and return early so he can visit Dallas next week. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch vowed that the Justice Department would do anything it could to help with the investigation. Lynch also said she was “heartbroken” by the loss and urged peaceful protesters not to “be discouraged by those who use your lawful actions as cover for their heinous violence.”

Meanwhile, in Dallas — after the shooting, after police dealt with the gunman, after the chaos gave way to grief — Rawlings said he couldn’t shake a memory from those early hours. He remembered the moment he learned that a fifth officer had died.

“We were thinking, when is it going to stop?” he said. “Five officers killed – this just doesn’t happen in the United States of America.”

Dennis reported from Dallas. Wan and Berman reported from Washington. Joel Achenbach, Jamie Thompson, Louisa Loveluck and Keith L. Alexander in Dallas; and Julie Tate, Jennifer Jenkins, Tom Jackman, Peter Hermann, Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Magda Jean-Louis in Washington contributed to this report.

Further reading:

Nation’s officers on edge as deaths in Dallas bring yearly toll among police to 25

‘Vicious’ attack on police in Dallas by black shooter raises pressure on Obama

Bahamas issues travel advisory for the U.S. aimed at interactions with police

[This story has been updated.]

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