5 Police Officers Killed By Sniper, 12 Wounded During Protest in Dallas

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Five police officers have been pronounced dead, and three are in critical condition after shooting broke out during a protest rally in downtown Dallas on Thursday night [July 7]. The violence is said to have ensued at around 9 p.m. [10 p.m. ET], just as the demonstration was coming to an end. Investigators' determination that the bullets rained down from an elevated position, has led them to believe that the shooting was the work sniper fire. A total of 12 officers were reported shot.

"We heard shots, we smelled gunpowder, and that's when everything got really intense and surreal," one witness told MSNBC news. "We just started to run and grab kids."

Hundreds of protesters were reported to have convened in what was one of dozens of nationwide actions waged in dissent over the killings of Alton Sterling in Louisiana on Tuesday, and Philando Castile on Wednesday in Minnesota. There were also demonstrations held in Atlanta, Seattle, Washington D.C., New York City and Oakland. Meanwhile in Baton Rouge mourners held a second line parade for Sterling. Artists Beyonce and Drake joined a chorus of celebrities to speak out against the shootings, with open letters to their fans, while President Obama spoke about the need to confront racial inequality in the criminal justice system.

Authorities are currently seeking a camouflage clad suspect, whose photo is being shared by media sources. They have proceeded with caution, as it has also been purported that the vigilantes may have planted a bomb in the area. Witnesses estimate having heard up to 30 gunshots in the chaos. Police believe there to have been an involvement of two suspects in the shooting.