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What we know about the attack on Dallas police headquarters

  1. Around 12:30 am Saturday, according to police, at least one suspect opened fire on police officers outside the headquarters of the Dallas Police Department.
  2. Police also said they discovered two packages outside the headquarters that had been rigged to explode, including one with a pipe bomb. One package exploded when a controlled-detonation robot picked it up.
  3. No officers were injured.
  4. The suspect was killed during a standoff with police officers after he attempted to escape in an armored van.
  5. Police officers say the suspect identified himself as James Boulware, but they have not yet confirmed his identity.

This article will continue to be updated as new information comes in.

What we know

According to police, analysis of the attack on the police department shows that one gunman attempted to attack police from multiple locations outside the department. Initial reports had said there were multiple gunmen (as many as four), but as of a press conference on Saturday morning, police believed only one suspect was responsible. Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown said on Saturday the attack appeared to be a deliberate attempt to target and kill police officers, based on the locations of the shots.

The suspect fled the scene in what police described as an "armored van," hitting a squad car. Police chased the van. They were able to corner the van and shoot out its engine in a nearby suburb, prompting a standoff.

According to police, the suspect was a white man who identified himself as James Boulware. The suspect blamed police for his losing custody of his son, and said police thought he was a terrorist.

After the suspect stopped responding to police, police shot into the vehicle. Several hours later, they were able to confirm they'd killed him. The police then detonated the van, which, as the suspect had warned, contained additional bombs.

A man named James Boulware in the area has a history of threats and domestic violence. After one incident in 2013, family members reported that Boulware had been talking about shooting up churches and schools, and police confiscated a cache of guns and ammunition from Boulware's house.

It's rare for police to be deliberately injured or killed on the job

Individual attacks on police get a lot of attention — even when police aren't killed, as in Dallas. And in general, assaults on police are not uncommon: In 2013, the assault rate was 9.3 for every 100 officers (it's been on the decline since 1998). But fewer than 30 percent of assaults result in an injury to the officer. And it's even more rare for officers to be killed in attacks.

Over the past 20 years, an average of 55 police officers a year have been killed by a criminal. Generally, more police deaths are the result of an accident than of a deliberate action. Since 2000, for example, accidental killings make up 56 percent of all deaths on the job.

However, ambushes like this one — unprovoked attacks on police — are actually the second-most-common circumstance for police to be killed over the past 10 years for which data is available. From 2004 to 2013, 111 officers were killed in ambushes.

What we don't know

We don't know for sure that the suspect was in fact named James Boulware, or if he was the same James Boulware who had a previous history of threats. The Dallas Police Department cautioned that the suspect might have given cops a false name, and they haven't yet confirmed his identity.

We don't know whether the suspect acted alone. As of Saturday morning, police believed he was the only gunman at the scene. But they didn't have any information about whether he had assistance in building the bombs or planning the attack.