One of the main suspects in the shooting in Dallas on Thursday night that left five police officers dead and seven others wounded has been identified as 25-year-old Dallas resident Micah Xavier Johnson, multiple outlets have reported.
But early Thursday night, the Dallas Police Department tweeted an image of a man, identified as Mark Hughes, wearing a camouflage-style shirt and carrying what appeared to be a rifle. The Twitter account indicated that the man was “one of our suspects.”
“Please help us find him!” the tweet read. A follow-up statement from the police department said the man “turned himself in.”
Twitter users were quick to point out, however, that the man appeared in a video taken by a bystander as shots rang out, and therefore could not have been one of the shooters.
“This man cooperated, was interviewed & released. He is not a suspect/person of interest. Thank you for help IDing him,” Emily Black, a public-information officer for the city of Dallas, tweeted Friday morning.
The man’s brother, Cory Hughes — an organiser for Black Lives Matter protests — told reporters Thursday night that his brother was not involved. Cory said he had told Mark to get rid of his gun “so there’s no confusion, so he gave it to a cop.”
From The Washington Post:
“Shortly after the first shots rang out, his brother, Cory Hughes, approached police to see if he could assist them. Upon receiving a phone call that he was a person of interest, Mark Hughes said, he handed his rifle over to the police, who questioned him and then released him. A Facebook video shows Mark Hughes unslinging his gun and giving it to officers, encouraged by his brother. Texas permits open carry of long guns like Hughes’s rifle.”
Mark Hughes’ lawyer — who told reporters that his client is a staunch 2nd Amendment advocate and was demonstrating his right to open-carry a weapon — later confirmed that Hughes was not a suspect and had been released by police.
The police department’s now-viral tweet — which has still not been deleted — has, however, led to “thousands of death threats already,” the family’s attorney, Corwyn Davis, said at a press conference Friday.
“Unfortunately, there was a lot of negligence with that picture,” Davis said, adding that Hughes may not have been read his Miranda rights at the police station.
Hughes, for his part, said police lied while interrogating him, telling him that witnesses said they saw him shoot the rifle and asking him why he wanted to shoot police officers.
“I just got out of the interrogation room for about 30 minutes with police officers lying, saying they had video of me shooting, which is a lie,” Hughes told CBS 11 News on Thursday night, shortly after he was released.
“That they have witnesses saying I shot a gun, which is a lie,” he added. “I mean, at the end of the day, the system is trying to get me.”
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