Even as Americans watched cable news coverage of a peaceful protest in Dallas, a sniper opened fire targeting police officers, felling them as they scrambled to protect the protesters caught in the rapid fire ricocheting in the downtown caverns of tall buildings.

Stunned anchors on news programs struggled to provide viewers with information as the images of police under fire and sounds of shots were broadcast live – with one news host finally asking for the camera operator to “shift the focus out of respect.”

Although it would be hours before the chaos cleared enough for the grim assessment – eleven officers shot, four dead (hours later, a fifth officer would die of his injuries), and at least two civilians injured, the people in the street, in Dallas, and around the country had heard the words, “Shots Fired. Officers Down.”

And while expressions of shock and sympathy began to pour in almost immediately, the protesters who had been shepherded from the kill zone beneath the sniper’s nest in a parking garage, broke into celebration.

Video of hundreds of protestors in the parking lot of a convenience store showed many dancing, jumping up and down, making rude gestures to the police, and taunting them about the dead and injured cops lying a few blocks away or fighting for their lives in nearby hospitals.

Managers closed the store and police formed a line to prevent any looting or arson attempts, such as had been seen in previous Black Lives Matter events in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore following racial incidents.

It appears from the video that many in the crowd were intoxicated, and when they poured alcohol on vehicles belonging to local news stations, reporters were forced to withdraw from the scene.

But the image remains – young, black protesters, mainly male, celebrating the death of police officers as a form of warped and perverted “justice” while in other parts of their city, families were hearing the news they feared the most.

The victims included fathers, a newlywed, an officer who was weeks away from retirement, and a veteran who survived Iraq and Afghanistan, but not the war against cops in America.

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