Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Dallas scarred again by national tragedy after police ambush

Members of an FBI evidence response team search an area in downtown Dallas on Friday, following the killings of five Dallas police officers by a sniper on Thursday night.

Getty Images

Members of an FBI evidence response team search an area in downtown Dallas on Friday, following the killings of five Dallas police officers by a sniper on Thursday night.

DALLAS — The memorial to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was a closed crime scene to the usual hordes of weekend tourists Saturday.

Once again, Dallas is the seat of national grief.

Police cruisers with flashing lights cordoned off 20 square downtown blocks where an Army reservist this week carried out the deadliest assault on U.S. law enforcement since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, while onlookers outside the barricades mourned five slain officers in a city long tormented by another singular violent event.

The ambush Thursday night during a protest march over recent police killings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota shook even Dallas residents most inexorably tied to Kennedy's death.

Among them was Marie Tippit, the 87-year-old widow of the Dallas police officer who Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed after killing Kennedy. She said Saturday she stayed up watching coverage of this week's bloodshed until the "wee hours."

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings also confronted the stigma of Kennedy head-on hours after the attack that left 12 officers and 2 civilians shot — praying with hundreds of worshipers in a public square that civic leaders in 1964 built after the assassination.

"For 50 years people around the world saw our city through the lens of the Kennedy assassination. Through that tragedy modern-day Dallas was born," Rawlings said. "A great city. Those of us who love this city always knew there was so much more to what happened than 1963."

He closed with optimism: "I believe this city will be better."

Authorities say Micah Johnson donned a protective vest and used a military-style semiautomatic rifle while firing at officers just blocks from where Kennedy was shot. Though 53 years apart, the two attacks were so close to each other that the memorial to Kennedy's death is inside the wide crime scene perimeter police established.

A marker next to that memorial partly reads, "In Dallas, Texas, there was a special sorrow." Curtis Stephan, a father of three who played piano at a vigil for the victims Friday night, said he hoped Dallas will not go through the same again.

"I hope that this doesn't define the city in a negative way, that this is the place where tragedy happened," Stephan said. "But this is the place where the people united, and it was almost the turning point where race relations and people from different backgrounds finally said, 'You know what, we're all Americans. We're all one people.' We can move past old wounds and find mercy in our lives."

Others see divisions that remain.

"I feel a lot of tensions and sadness," said Scarlett McCormick, whose husband is black and mourned for the slain officers with her four children. "Everyone is in shock."

At Dealey Plaza, where a white "X'' still marks the spot on Elm Street where Kennedy was struck, Black Lives Matter supporter Gregory Bernard Smith used a bullhorn Saturday while calling for the city to come together. President Barack Obama said Saturday that he would visit Dallas in the coming days to pay his respects and mourn for the stricken Texas city.

At the worship service on Thursday, Rawlings told the mixed-race crowd of several hundred people that the country must be willing to address racial issues. He said "We as a city, as a state, as a nation are struggling with racial issues. Yes, it's that word 'race'. We've got to take it head on."

Tippit said she can't help thinking of the day her husband died in 1963.

"These officers will never be forgotten. They will always be remembered," she said. "We just have to let them know that."

Dallas scarred again by national tragedy after police ambush 07/09/16 [Last modified: Saturday, July 9, 2016 8:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31

    Blogs

    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  2. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win

    Blogs

    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

  3. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.
  4. Trump fallout: Bucs' DeSean Jackson to make 'statement' Sunday

    Bucs

    Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson said Saturday that he will make a "statement" before today's game against the Vikings in response to President Donald Trump's comment that owners should "fire" players who kneel in protest during the national anthem.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson (11) makes a catch during the first half of an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017.
  5. Kriseman invites Steph Curry to St. Pete on Twitter

    Blogs

    Mayor Rick Kriseman is no stranger to tweaking President Donald Trump on social media.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman took to Twitter Saturday evening to wade into President Donald Trump's latest social media scuffle