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Large area of city sealed off as police negotiate with suspected gunman in between exchanges of gunfire.

The city of Dallas was plunged into chaos on Thursday night as four police officers were shot dead and at least seven others were wounded when dozens of shots were fired during a downtown protest against violence.

Dallas police chief David Brown said three suspects were custody and officers were continuing to negotiate with one suspect, believed to be one of the shooters, who was cornered on the second floor of a garage. He added that he did not have a “complete comfort level” that all suspects had been apprehended.

Officers were continuing to exchange gunfire with the cornered suspect, Brown said, telling reporters the suspected gunman had told officers: “The end is coming” and that “he’s going to hurt and kill more of us – meaning law enforcement.”

A “suspicious package” was also found near the suspect, according to the department and the individual had told officers he had planted bombs “all over the place”.

The anti-violence rally descended into chaos on Thursday night after what Brown described as “two snipers” shot at officers “from elevated positions”. Four officers were struck fatally and several of the wounded were reported to be in surgery or a critical condition.

Brown said at a press conference that the snipers appeared to have positioned themselves on perches at downtown garages during an orchestrated attack and “planned to injure and kill as many law enforcement officers as they could”.

As the siege situation emerged, Brown said the FBI and ATF had been asked to assist in investigating the suspect’s bomb threat. The Federal Aviation Authority [FAA] later issued a temporary flight restriction over downtown Dallas.

The chief said that two other suspects were apprehended after officers followed their vehicle and recovered two camouflage bags. Another suspect, a female, was arrested close to the garage where the standoff was taking place.

The department was investigating whether any of the suspects had prior knowledge of the protest’s planning. “We’re leaving every motive on the table,” Brown said.

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