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By Hasani Gittens and Alex Johnson

Witnesses described the ambush of 11 Dallas law enforcement officers, five of whom were killed, as surreal and horrifying Thursday night.

Dallas police said they believed two snipers opened fire during a demonstration downtown over recent police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana.

"I didn't see anybody else get shot, just the cops. I saw cops getting shot, right there in plain sight," Cortney Washington told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth in the chaotic aftermath of the initial gunfire.

"While we was running, like, they just kept shooting," Washington said. "We didn't know where it was coming from."

A witness who didn't give his name told MSNBC that his group was making a second lap of the event when gunfire erupted.

"We heard shots, we smelled gunpowder, and that's when everything got really intense and surreal," the man said. "We just started to run and grab kids."

A woman who also didn't give her name told NBC Dallas Fort Worth: "We were leaving, and when we turned, there was cops. They were patrolling. Then, all of a sudden, you've seen them just fall."

Renee Sifflet told The Dallas Morning News that she took her three teenage children to the rally "for a positive experience, something they could say they were part of when they're older."

"Then it turned negative," Sifflet said.

Carlos Harris told the newspaper that the shooters "were strategic. It was tap tap pause. Tap tap pause."

Lasylvia Knight, 27, meanwhile, drew a macabre parallel with events almost 53 years ago.

"Why did they kill JFK at Dealey Plaza?" she said, The Morning News reported. "It's Dallas. It doesn't have to make sense."

A DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) police officer receives comfort at Baylor University Hospital emergency room entrance on July 7, 2016 in Dallas, Texas.Ting Shen/The Dallas Morning News / AP