DALLAS — The suspect in an armored van who opened fire on Dallas Police headquarters and engaged in a lengthy standoff is dead, police confirmed Saturday afternoon.
Police said a sniper shot the suspect, tentatively identified by police as James Boulware, around 5 a.m.
Just before noon, officials blew up his armored van after extensive preparation for a safe detonation. Police said at least two pipe bombs were found in the vehicle; live rounds were still going off as the van burned.
"I think he went in knowing he wouldn't come out," Boulware's mother, Jeannine Hammond, told WFAA. She believes what happened amounts to "suicide by police."
Hammond said she was relieved that no one else was hurt, and that her son was tormented by voices in his head. She said he likely suffered from schizophrenia.
After opening fire on the department's headquarters, the suspect led officers on a chase to Hutchins, about 10 miles southeast. A lengthy standoff ensues. The armored van was "disabled" by police at 5:40 a.m. in a Jack In The Box parking lot.
Starting around 9 a.m., bomb units began "planned detonations" to safely check for explosives and render the vehicle safe.
Police used robots to examine the suspect's vehicle before the planned detonations.
The South Side on Lamar apartment complex in the 1400 block of South Lamar was evacuated as a precaution after one or more bombs were discovered outside police headquarters.
Just after 6 a.m., Dallas Police Maj. Max Geron said on Twitter that officers were clearing the station.
"Not 'evacuating' but getting officers to clear in service from the station," he said in response to a tweet.
Dallas police Chief David Brown said four suspicious bags were found outside the building. Two explosive devices were found and detonated, while the other two ended up being trash, according to Maj. Geron.
One bag exploded as a bomb squad robot tried to move it. Another explosive, found under a police vehicle, was intentionally detonated around 5:45 a.m. No officers were injured, Geron said.
A suspicious bag found near the Northeast substation was cleared just after 7:30 a.m.
WFAA received multiple calls referring to bombs in the suspect's vehicle Saturday morning. Those calls came from an individual or multiple individuals speaking with a disguised voice.
Police were investigating the source of those calls.
Police alerted other law enforcement agencies in the region to search for any suspicious devices.
The situation began at 12:30 a.m. Saturday when gunfire was reported outside police headquarters.
"Witnesses observed what they believed to be multiple suspects firing guns at the Dallas Police Department's headquarters," Chief Brown said. "The suspects were parked in front of police headquarters. As police officers arrived, the suspects rammed Dallas police officers' squad cars and began shooting at the officers, striking the squad cars but missing the officers."
Nearby residents reported hearing automatic gunfire and video posted to social media shows what appears to be an armored van with gun ports on its sides ramming Dallas police squad cars and exchanging gunfire with police before fleeing the area.
Twitter user Janin Ruiz (@janinruiz1) posted video of the shooting from a nearby building (Warning: this footage contains offensive language):
Officers chased the van to a Jack in the Box restaurant on the Interstate 45 service road in Hutchins. The time was 12:44 a.m.
"While in the parking lot, there was another exchange of gunfire between the suspects and the officers," Brown said. The suspects refused to exit the vehicle, at which time the officers set up a perimeter.
Dallas police sources told News 8 they were concerned there could be explosives in the van. Brown said the driver threatened to "blow them up" before cutting off contact with negotiators.
According to Chief Brown, no Dallas police officers were hurt at either scene.
Police initially believed there could be as many as four suspects involved in the attack, based on eyewitness reports. Police later clarified that there was only one suspect, who identified himself to police as James Boulware.
Brown said police negotiators talked to the suspect via cell phone, and the man told them the police "took his child" and "accused him of being a terrorist."
News 8 learned that the armored van was once a government vehicle, possibly from the Pickens County Sheriff's Department in northwest Georgia. The van reportedly sold for $8,250 on eBay on June 1.
Brown said officers expanded a perimeter around their headquarters building after the existence of explosives was confirmed. Chief Brown urged the public to steer clear of the Cedars neighborhood until the situation is resolved.
Police have requested in public help in providing them any video they may have through the department's social media sites. Here is a link to DPD's Twitter account, and here is a link to their Facebook page.
Twitter user @madwho12 caught the suspect's van ram a police vehicle as shots ring out in front of the station (Warning: NSFW language):
Attorney General Ken Paxton released a statement late Saturday morning in support of Dallas Police.
"The attack on the Dallas Police Department and its officers is a dangerous reminder of the unpredictable threats our men and women in law enforcement face every day ... Led by Chief David Brown, the department's response has been professional, working to end this situation as quickly, and as safely, as possible."