DALLAS: The Dallas gunman was plotting a major bomb attack, authorities said on Sunday (Monday in Manila), urging calm after more than 200 people were arrested in a new night of protests over police violence against blacks.
Anger around America over the deaths of two black men at the hands of police in recent days—the stated reason for the black Dallas gunman’s deadly rampage targeting white officers—showed no signs of abating.
President Barack Obama cautioned protesting Americans against casting all police as racially biased.
Obama has ordered flags at half-staff 67 times in response to tragedies, more than any other president before him, and may address that grim record when he speaks at an interfaith memorial service Tuesday.
Vice President Joe Biden will also attend, along with Obama’s predecessor and ex-Texas governor George W. Bush, who will deliver brief remarks, and his wife Laura.
The Dallas community’s “unity is reflective of who we are as Americans” during these trying times, said Obama, who will meet privately with the families of the five fallen police officers and those wounded.
The past week’s violence has shocked a country seemingly inured to its epidemic of gun violence and injected new urgency into the national debate on race relations and how white police deal with black suspects.
“The best way to honor the memory of Alton Sterling, the Dallas law enforcement officers and Philando Castile is to protect the people here,” Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said, referring to those killed in recent days.
Protesters will not be “allowed to incite hate and violence, to engage in unlawful activities,” he added.
People inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement—which arose in response to police using lethal force against unarmed blacks—took to the streets in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco in largely peaceful protests.
But authorities said a full-scale riot broke out in Saint Paul, Minnesota and resulted in 102 arrests. Protesters blocked a freeway and attacked police with rocks, bottles, fireworks, Molotov cocktails and metal bars.
Twenty-one officers were injured in the hours-long melee, one of them when a rioter dropped a 25-pound (11-kilogram) chunk of concrete on his head from a bridge or overpass, police spokesman Steve Linders said.
It was in a Saint Paul suburb that one of last week’s deaths occurred.
In Baton Rouge, where the other death took place, one officer was injured and 102 protesters were also arrested, Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said. Among them was activist leader DeRay McKesson, who livestreamed the incident. He was released on bond Sunday.
“The only people that were violent last night were the Baton Rouge police department,” McKesson told reporters outside the jailhouse. “The protesters remain peaceful both here and across the country.”
Both killings were caught on horrific video that quickly went viral.
In a similar case, a black man was shot dead by police Saturday in Houston, the largest city in Texas.
City police said that Alva Braziel was carrying a gun, and was believed to have pointed it at officers, but in surveillance footage from a nearby gas station, he appears to put his hands up and turn around.