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A day after Dallas shootings, community comes together to remember the lives lost

Posted at 10:51 PM, Jul 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-09 02:49:53-04

A Dallas Police cruiser parked at the police headquarters became a memorial for the five officers killed in an ambush during a rally protesting police shootings Thursday night.

The police car was covered in notes, flowers, stuffed animals and balloons.

(Photo: Dallas PD cruiser becomes memorial at HQ, courtesy: Marshall Zelinger) 

In the first 24 hours after five officers were killed, seven others injured, along with two civilians, downtown Dallas was part deserted town, part active crime scene.

Several roads remained blocked off in the area around the shooting that took place from a parking structure. The incident ended when the police department sent in a bomb disposal robot, with a bomb, which detonated and killed the suspect.

"I am familiar with that type of scenario. You're required to do 16 hours of training every single month, so they're going to touch on every different scenario that they can possibly think of each month," Dallas Sheriff's Department Sgt. Christopher Dyer told Denver7. "The robot is meant for whatever purpose that you can use it for that will save an officer's life."

Dyer is a traffic sergeant, but used to be a SWAT commander. He spoke with Denver7 about the human impact on being a law enforcement officer in uniform immediately after this shooting and the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La. and Philando Castile outside of Saint Paul, Minn.

"I'm going to perform a traffic stop today, just like I did yesterday, just like I did the day before," said Dyer. "We can't let ourselves change how we do our job."

He said law enforcement families know the drill when duty calls.

"The hugs are definitely going to be tighter. You're going to get a lot more emotion out of your family," said Dyer. "We have to carry on with our jobs. We have to face the fact that there are people out there who have evil in their hearts and this is the type of things that they do, but those people are rare."

He also brought up a concern about the safety of so many citizen journalists capturing the shootings live from their cell phones.

"It's amazing that people are just standing there, taking video, when people are firing a gun at them," said Dyer. "No one, at that point, knew what his target was. Yes, he's firing on police officers, but that doesn't mean that he's not going to take shots at anybody else, or he's not going to confuse you for a police officer."

Multiple cell phone videos were posted on social media, while dozens of bullets were fired.

"I can't ignore that. I can't ignore you standing behind me with something in your hands," said Dyer. "You have to take your concentration off of the person that's shooting at you, in order to look at this person who may just have a cell phone in their hand.

Elsewhere in Dallas, a number of restaurants were offering free meals to officers and, in some cases, anyone in uniform.

"I don't want a dime from you today," said Sam Wynne, co-founder of Braindead Brewing. "I got to interact and thank someone who lost two friends in the shootings last night and who was clearly not having a great day."

He posted his offer on Facebook and it was quickly shared more than 5,000 times by Friday evening.

"I think that's what all of our jobs are in this industry, is to be a therapist and be a friend," said Wynne.

If you want to help the families of the officers impacted by the shootings, Dyer suggests donating to "Assist The Officer" at atodallas.org.

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