Obama Cutting Europe Trip Short After Dallas Cop Slayings, Calls Shooter 'Demented Individual'
Obama has spoken out about Thursday's shocking slaying of five Dallas police officers by an Army vet who wanted to kill white cops in the wake of two highly visible police-involved shootings of black men.
From a NATO summit in Poland, Obama said he was "horrified" by "demented individual" 25-year-old Micah Johnson's "vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement."
"So we cannot let the actions of a few define all of us," the president said in Warsaw.
Despite being an ocean away in Europe, it was the second time in less than one day that the president addressed the American public about shootings in the country.
"There is no possible justification for these kinds of attacks or any violence against law enforcement," Obama said. "Anyone involved in the senseless murders will be held fully accountable. Justice will be done."
The president said he will cut short his Europe trip by one day and return to the U.S. and visit Dallas.
"In the meantime, today our focus is on the victims and their families. They are heartbroken. The entire city of Dallas is grieving. Police across America, which is a tight-knit family, feels this loss to their core. And we're grieving with them. I’d ask all Americans to say a prayer for these officers and their families. Keep them in your thoughts. And as a nation, let’s remember to express our profound gratitude to our men and women in blue — not just today, but every day," Obama said.
The president also ordered flags flown at half mast on public buildings and the White House.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch has also issued a statement on the attacks in Dallas.
"We must continue working to build trust between communities and law enforcement. We must continue working to guarantee every person in this country equal justice under the law. We must take a hard look at the ease with which wrongdoers can get their hands on deadly weapons and the frequency with which they use them. We must reflect on the kind of country we want to build and the kind of society we want to pass on to our children," Lynch said.
Micah Johnson, 25, was a private first class who served in the Army Reserve for six years starting in 2009. He did one tour in Afghanistan from November 2013 to July 2014.
Authorities say he strapped on a protective vest and armed himself with a "military-style" assault rifle and shot a dozen officers during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Dallas before authorities killed him using explosives and a robot.
Investigators say Johnson was out to kill white police officers following the police-related killings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, whose deaths were captured on videos that call in to question whether deadly force should have been taken by the officers.
The deaths of Sterling and Castile have sparked protests nationwide by demonstrators, including those from the Black Lives Matter movement.