Authorities in Texas said Saturday that a gunman in an armored vehicle opened fire on police headquarters in Dallas, puncturing windows and police cars with bullets, then drove off in a hail of police gunfire before being killed by a sniper.
Police surrounded the armored van in a Dallas suburb early Saturday. Authorities did not move in on the suspect immediately because of fears that the vehicle might have been booby trapped with explosives. But after an exchange of gunfire and a three-hour standoff, snipers fired into the vehicle to disable the engine.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown said that when his snipers glimpsed the suspect inside the vehicle a few minutes later, they fired through the van's windshield.
More than seven hours after the shooting began, a Dallas police spokesman posted on the department's Twitter account that the suspect had been found dead in the vehicle.
Brown said the suspect identified himself to authorities as James Boulware, and he blamed police for having lost custody of his son and for "accusing him of being a terrorist.'' But authorities declined to officially identify the suspect until a medical examiner verified it.
Apart from the suspect's wounds, no injuries were reported. Brown told how several of his officers narrowly missed being hit and said he felt everyone involved was "blessed."
A cache of pipe bombs planted outside police headquarters exploded when a robot tried to remove it. Brown said that could have been a fatal explosion if anyone had been nearby.
The chief said the attacker had an arrest record for violent incidents involving his family. However, no information was released that would link the man to any terrorist group.
Jeannine Hammond, Boulware's mother, told Dallas NBC affiliate KXAS-TV that her son was mentally ill and "heard voices."
Dallas, the third-largest city in Texas, has a population of well over 1 million.
Saturday's incident was the latest in a series of ambushes and attacks on police officers in the United States this year.
Some information for this report came from AP and Reuters.