Crisis-trained chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team have been deployed to the Dallas, Texas, area following last night’s shooting deaths of five law enforcement officers. It is reported that seven additional officers were wounded in the sniper-style attacks.
The violence broke out during an otherwise peaceful protest spurred by the recent shooting deaths of Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Louisiana. Both men were killed by police officers.
The New York Times, quoting local officials, reports that at least one sniper, who said he wanted to shoot white police officers, killed five officers and wounded seven others at a demonstration in Dallas on Thursday night against police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana. The sniper was killed, and three other people are in custody, officials said.
During an hours-long standoff after the attack, in which two civilians were also wounded, the gunman told police negotiators that “he was upset about Black Lives Matter,” the Dallas police chief, David O. Brown, said on Friday, according to the New York Times report.
“He said he was upset about the recent police shootings,” Chief Brown said. “The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.”
The police killed the suspect using an explosive delivered by a robot, he said, and arrested three other people.
The newspaper, quoting a senior law enforcement official, stated that it appears the dead sniper, identified as Micah X. Johnson, 25, was the sole gunman. Officials at first said that at least two snipers had carried out a coordinated ambush, firing rifles from triangulated positions, including from one or more elevated posts in downtown buildings.
The newspaper reported that Johnson, an Army veteran who lived in the Dallas area, apparently had no criminal record in Texas. Investigators have not turned up any evidence that he had ties to the Black Lives Matter movement or to political groups. The official said that Justice officials have reached out to the Pentagon to obtain Johnson’s military records.
“It’s hard to know what to say in the face of all of the violence we’ve seen in recent days. Our hearts are broken,” said Jack Munday, international director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team in a Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Rapid Response Team news release.
“Please pray for this entire situation, stretching from Minneapolis to Baton Rouge to Dallas. We’re sending chaplains into Dallas to offer a ministry of presence to a community in crisis.”
Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, shared on Twitter: “Pray for the families of the officers killed in Dallas last night and for the recovery of those ambushed and wounded at the protest. Join me in praying for the loved ones of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling as well as their communities in Louisiana and Minnesota.”
The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains recently completed their ministry in Orlando following the massacre of 49 people in the Pulse nightclub. Prior to that tragedy, the organization had responded to four other shootings or terror attacks in the previous nine months: Roseburg, OR (Umpqua Community College), and San Bernardino, CA, domestically, and Paris, France, and Brussels, Belgium, internationally.
Dallas Mayor Joins Faith Leaders in Prayer for Shooting Victims
CBNNews reports that Dallas’ mayor Mike Rawling and local faith leaders are coming together to pray for the families and victims of Thursday night’s deadly shooting that left five police officers dead.
The sniper attack on Dallas police officers left many in the country devastated and searching for peace. Twelve officers were shot, five of whom were killed, at a rally protesting the recent deaths of two black men at the hands of white police officers.
“Our profession is hurting,” Dallas Police Chief David Brown said at a news conference. “Dallas officers are hurting. We are heartbroken. There are no words to describe the atrocity that occurred to our city. All I know is that this must stop, this divisiveness between our police and our citizens.”
“We don’t feel much support most days,” Brown continued. “Let’s not make today most days. Please, we need your support to protect you from men like these, who carried out this tragic, tragic event.”
In response, several Dallas residents are seeking God through prayer at a rally for the family and victims today.
CBNNews reported that Dallas Mayor Mike Rawling urged everyone to pray for those affected.
“Today at noon, we will gather in prayer at Thanksgiving Square for the victims and families,” Rawling tweeted.
Everyone is invited to attend the prayer rally by praying for those affected, CBNNews said.
“I would ask that if you are at your home, or your office, or at your school, that you would join us today at Noon in the spirit of prayer to heal wounds — not create them,” Rawlings said.
Evangelist Alveda King, Director of Civil Rights for The Unborn, Priests for Life based in Atlanta, Georgia, said: “As my friends Ryan Bomberger of the Radiance Foundation and Bishop Jim Lowe of Guiding Light Church and others weigh in on the unfolding issues and death counts in Louisiana, Minnesota and now Dallas, I’m encouraging everyone to step back from violence, reach out to Heaven in prayer, and act to break every chain.”
“My heart grieves for this needless, evil violence that takes precious innocent human lives (gun violence, police brutality, abortion brutality) from this earth,” said Ryan Bomberger, Chief Creative Officer, The Radiance Foundation.
For more information on the BGEA RRT ministry, including videos, photos, news articles and an interactive map of former and current deployments, visit Billy Graham’s website. Updates can also be found on the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team Facebook Page.
The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team was developed by Franklin Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It has since grown into a nationwide network of chaplains in 48 states who are specifically trained to deal with crisis situations. They have deployed to more than 225 disaster sites, including shootings, floods, hurricanes, wildfires and tornadoes.