A man with a history of violence and reports of mental illness attacked the Dallas Police headquarters last night with a semi-automatic weapon and pipe bombs before leading police on a chase that ended in his apparent death after a standoff in nearby Hutchins.
Initial reports of the attack claimed that up to four men with automatic weapons were part of an assault on the police, insinuating a terrorist attack had occurred.
Multiple gunmen armed with automatic weapons fired on police officers outside Dallas Police headquarters early Saturday morning before fleeing in an armored van, leading police on a chase that ended in an ongoing standoff in a parking lot where a gun battle with officers ensued.
Video of the incident filmed by a witness doesn’t support either claim.
All shots heard in the video are fired are at a semi-automatic rate of fire, not a cyclic rate.
After ramming a police car with a lightly-armored van (possibly a retired armored van used in cash deliveries, or an old police vehicle), Boulware led police in a chase that ended in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant in Hutchins, southwest of downtown Dallas.
There, a police sniper armed with a .50 BMG rifle fired two shots through the vehicle’s light armor plate to disable the engine, and authorities then began attempting to negotiate with Hutchins.
At some point Boulware opened fire on officers through one of the vehicle’s gunports. The sniper with the .50 BMG rifle took fired a single shot through the windshield of the vehicle, stopping the firing from within.
Earlier this morning Dallas SWAT sniper shot the suspect through the front windshield.
— Maj. Max Geron (@MaxDPD) June 13, 2015
Multiple duffel bags were left at the scene of the original attack by Boulware, at least one of which exploded when touched, damaging but not destroying an EOD robot. All of those bags have now been detonated in place.
Officers in Hutchins have used the .50 BMG rifle again to blast holes in the windshield of the armored van, and will be using a water charge in hopes of diffusing any blackpowder-based explosives inside the vehicle. It is not yet confirmed that Boulware is dead, but there have been no signs of movement in four hours. [Update: death confirmed.]
James Boulware first came to then attention of authorities in 2013 after assaulting his aunt and uncle in a domestic dispute. He stole firearms and body armor from his brother before eventually surrendering to police. Charges against him were dropped. Boulware’s mental health has been deteriorating since that time, and family members reported that he was delusional, and frequently talked to himself. It is unknown at this time if he was ever adjudicated mentally ill, but he did not have criminal convictions.
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It is worth noting that—yet again—initial mainstream media accounts of the number of attackers and the claims of automatic weapons use were wildly inaccurate.