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Dallas Police Attack: Suspect Killed After Being Shot by Sniper

by Elizabeth Chuck and F. Brinley Bruton /  / Updated 

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A suspected gunman who ambushed Dallas police headquarters Saturday morning was shot during a standoff and was later confirmed dead, police said.

SWAT snipers struck the suspect through the windshield of his van in the Dallas suburb of Hutchins during a tense ordeal in which no officers or civilians were hurt, Dallas Police Chief David Brown told reporters. The Dallas police tweeted Saturday afternoon that he was killed.

The suspect identified himself as James Boulware to police, although officers had not confirmed his identity. Brown said officers needed to check the suspect's fingerprints once they were able to get into the van to verify his identity.

James Lance Boulware
James Lance BoulwareParis TX Police Department

"We believe this suspect meant to kill officers," Brown said.

Boulware's family said in a statement that they were "in shock and glad nobody else was hurt."

"We tried to get him mental help numerous times, but the system failed him, because he was declared 'sane.' He was very delusional. It was very obvious," the statement said. "We hope that people with mental illness will receive the care they need to avoid situations like this in the future."

Bags with explosives were discovered "spread out all over police headquarters" after the early-morning shooting, Brown said. At least one device — a bag containing pipe bombs — exploded when a specialized robot tried to move it.

During negotiations with officers, the suspect "expressed that the van he was traveling in was rigged with explosives," prompting bomb technicians to use a robot to examine the vehicle "to ensure that it's not rigged to explode."

Just before noon local time, police attempted to neutralize explosives believed to be inside the van. Loud booms were heard and the vehicle caught fire. Authorities said they later found two pipe bombs still inside the van.

"We believe this suspect meant to kill officers," Brown earlier told reporters.

Nearby residents were evacuated.

While authorities were still trying to piece together a motive, the suspect had blamed police for losing custody of his son, and was apparently upset about them "accusing him of being a terrorist," Brown said.

Earlier, based on eyewitness accounts, police said that up to four gunmen may have been shooting at the headquarters with automatic weapons at around 12:30 a.m. CT (1:30 a.m. ET).

At a press conference later Saturday morning, Brown said police believed just one suspect — who shot from different locations — was involved. Bullet holes riddled the entrance of the police headquarters and caused damage to a display case inside.

Related: Read more at NBCDFW.com

Police returned fire and the suspect got into what witnesses say was an armored van, which rammed a patrol car and then raced off, Brown said. Officers gave chase and followed the van to the parking lot of a Jack in the Box eatery in Hutchins, where they later "disabled" the van.

A sniper with a .50-caliber rifle shot twice at the vehicle's engine and then a third time through the windshield, hitting the suspect, police said.

The FBI is assisting in the investigation, Brown added, and said that police headquarters has been turned into a "complex crime scene." No other suspicious packages were found at the seven other police patrol stations across Dallas.

Residents described hearing shots rattle through their neighborhood during the incident.

"I woke up to gunfire," recent college graduate Joshua Guilbaud, 25, told NBC News. "It sounded like the gunfire was inside my building. The first thing I did was lock the doors, and I woke my roommates up."

"I just came here to progress in my career," Guilbaud added, and "never expected to be in a situation."

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