Military experts: Dallas police attackers appeared 'tactically professional' and 'focused'

Military experts have taken to Twitter to dissect footage captured of one of the Dallas shooters as he ambushed police officers during a protest in the city’s center on Thursday night.

Malcolm Nance, a combat veteran and retired U.S. Navy Intelligence official, tweeted an analysis of the attacker’s tactics, caught on video, as he opened fire.

In the graphic video, the suspect can be seen firing on an unknown individual who had been hiding behind a pillar.


Nance continued:

“Shooter not using off-hand shots, but good use of cover alternating engag. side. Mainly Double taps…Shooters intent on surviving. Had escape & evasion plan. Feels militia or Domestic terror grp trained in USA. Initial fusillade was numerous 4-6 shot groups. Mainly 4 shot. Several weapons. Not gang style.”

He added: “For anyone who thinks I’m calm. I’m VERY VERY upset. Went to SWAT school with civilian cops. This designed to incite civil war.”

Sean Parnell, an Army Ranger and combat infantryman who was embedded with the 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan, said that the ambush appeared “sophisticated.”

“Heard 3 semi automatic rifles from 3 separate positions,” Parnell tweeted. “Coordinated ambush. Fire was synchronised & focused. This was sophisticated.”

He added that the attack “definitely takes coordination. If I’m a betting man, they had egress routes pre planned.”

Alex Horton, an Iraq veteran-turned national reporter for the military news site Stars and Stripes, tweeted a similar analysis.

“Smooth footwork, uses pillar as cover during movement, assaults through, pivots back to previous targets. Takes a cool head,” Horton said. “That aggression though, choosing to quickly close the distance to a threat to create a buffer from the video camera’s 9 o’clock.”

Dallas police officers stand in a line near the site of shootings in downtown Dallas, early Friday, July 8, 2016. Snipers opened fire on police officers, police said; some of the officers were killed.(AP Photo/LM Otero)Dallas police officers stand in a line near the site of shootings in downtown Dallas, early Friday, July 8, 2016.

Thomas Gibbons-Neff, a US Marine Corps veteran who now writes for the Washington Post, also weighed in.

“All you can tell is that the shooter appears comfortable doing what he’s doing. Controls the weapon, deliberate aiming/firing,” Gibbons-Neff noted on Twitter. 

He added: “I guess what jumps the most is his assault on the officer. In combat, it’s called a close ambush. If you’re engaged from within 25 yards, you establish fire superiority and assault through the objective. Something — training or no training — this guy clearly did.”

Dallas shootingRon Jenkins/Getty ImagesDallas police stand watch near the scene where four Dallas police officers were shot and killed on July 7, 2016 in Dallas, Texas.

Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown said the officers were shot by two snipers in “elevated positions” near the protests and said the department believes the attackers coordinated the ambush. 

Brown also said that the suspects in custody were not being very cooperative: “We just are not getting the cooperation we’d like, to know that answer of why, the motivation, who they are.”

At least 11 officers and one civilian were shot. Four of the deceased officers were from the Dallas Police Department. One deceased officer was from the Dallas Area Rapid Transit agency.

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