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Obama: Dallas police shootings were 'vicious, calculated and despicable'

USA TODAY USA TODAY 8/07/2016 Gregory Korte

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"I believe I speak for every single American when I say we are horrified over these events, and we stand united with the people and the police department in Dallas," he said.

Obama said he spoke with Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, and offered him condolences and federal assistance.

Dallas Police say at least five officers were killed and six more injured by multiple snipers in downtown Dallas as protests over police-involved shootings erupted Thursday night. 

One suspect shot and killed himself after being surrounded by police; three more have been arrested, police said. 

"We will learn more, undoubtedly, about their twisted motivations, but let’s be clear: There is no possible justification for these types of attacks," Obama said.

"Anyone involved in the senseless murders will be held fully accountable. Justice will be done."

As he did earlier Friday, Obama called on Americans to do more to address police-involved shootings and violence in the criminal justice system.

And he also suggested that lax gun laws also played a role: "We also know that when people are armed with powerful weapons, it makes shootings like this more deadly and more tragic," he said. 

But he said his immediate concern was for the officers and their families. "Today is a wrenching reminder of the sacrifices they make for us," he said. "They are heartbroken.

President Obama pauses as he speaks on the shooting in Dallas on the sidelines of the NATO Summit at a hotel in Warsaw Friday. © MANDEL NGAN, AFP/Getty Images President Obama pauses as he speaks on the shooting in Dallas on the sidelines of the NATO Summit at a hotel in Warsaw Friday. 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."

It was the second time Friday that Obama addressed policing issues as the rapidly evolving situation continued to command his attention in Warsaw, where he's attending a two-day NATO Summit with leaders of the military alliance.

Before the summit, he also met with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, focusing largely on the impact that the United Kingdom's vote to leave the European Union would have on the rest of the continent.

In a statement just after arriving at the summit just after midnight Warsaw time, and before the Dallas protests erupted into violence, Obama said all Americans should be troubled by the videotaped police shootings of African-American men in Louisiana and Minnesota this week.

But even then, Obama was careful to acknowledge police officers who had lost their lives. 

"There are times when these incidents occur, and you see protests and you see vigils. And I get letters — well-meaning letters sometimes — from law enforcement saying, how come we’re under attack? 

How come not as much emphasis is made when police officers are shot?" Obama said before the Dallas officers were shot. 

"And so, to all of law enforcement, I want to be very clear: We know you have a tough job. 

We mourn those in uniform who are protecting us who lose their lives. On a regular basis, I have joined with families in front of Capitol Hill to commemorate the incredible heroism that they’ve displayed. 

I’ve hugged family members who’ve lost loved ones doing the right thing. I know how much it hurts."


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