In the wake of a sniper shooting that killed five officers and wounded seven more in Texas, San Jose police will work in pairs for their own safety.
Officers normally patrol alone, according to the San Jose Police Department, which announced the staffing change hours after the Friday morning attack that ended a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas. Police agencies throughout the country announced similar precautions.
Chief Eddie Garcia spoke to reporters outside the police station to express support for Dallas law enforcement after the fatal shootout. He also said that several of his own officers fielded anonymous threats after the sniper shooting.
The Dallas attack disbanded a demonstration against the shootings deaths of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota. An hours-long standoff between police and a gunman identified as Micah Xavier Johnson ended when officers—in a seemingly unprecedented move—used a robot to deliver and detonate a bomb.
“We are horrified over these events, and that we stand united with the people and the police department as it deals with this tremendous tragedy,” President Obama said on Friday, his second address on fatal shootings in a 24-hour span. “We still don’t know all the facts. What we do know is that there has been a vicious, calculated, and despicable attack on law enforcement.”
Obama ordered public agencies to lower flags to half mast in honor of the lives lost. Locally, public officials expressed grief and outrage over the deadly attack on police and the killings of Sterling and Castile.
At 11 Friday morning, all Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority buses and trains stopped for a minute of silence for the fallen officers, particularly for Dallas Area Rapid Transit Officer Brent Thompson.
Locally, a memorial will take place in solidarity with Dallas at 6:30pm Friday at Bible Way Christian Center, 2090 Oakland Road in San Jose. The Star of David Ministries will host another vigil at 6pm Sunday outside the San Jose City Hall Rotunda.
Chief Garcia took to Twitter to offer condolences to Dallas officers.
GOD BLESS THE PEACEKEEPERS....OUR HEARTS ARE WITH YOU DALLAS!!! pic.twitter.com/9ke5mQzjz2
— Eddie Garcia (@sjpdchief) July 8, 2016
“Amid the horrors of Baton Rouge, Minnesota, and now Dallas, I pray for the mourning families of those tragically killed,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo wrote on Facebook. “Particularly amid this intense anger and pain, we must re-commit to peacefully rebuild trust within each of our communities.”
San Jose Councilman Ash Kalra tweeted a sorrowful message and shared a post from singer John Legend.
48 hours in America. No words. Just tears for now. — Ash Kalra (@Ash_Kalra) July 8, 2016
Being against cops killing is not equal to being for killing cops. We need peace in our streets.
— John Legend (@johnlegend) July 8, 2016
Downtown Councilman Raul Peralez, a former San Jose police officer, posted a quote by Dr.Martin Luther King Jr.
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) tweeted a message this morning focusing on the victims and their families.
In a moving speech Friday, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings urged American leaders to approach the issue of race with care.
“We will not shy away from the very real fact that we as a city, as a state, as a nation are struggling with racial issues,” Rawlings said during a vigil. “They continue to divide us. Yes, it’s that word race, and we’ve got to attack it head on.”
NAACP President Cornell William Brooks said the civil rights organization was founded more than a century ago to fight racialized violence. The battle persists.
“We grieve for Alton Sterling,” he wrote in a statement Friday. “We grieve for Philando Castile. And we grieve with the rest of the country over the senseless loss of lives in Dallas, too—because the execution of police officers does not end the execution of black Americans, and it will not put us on the path to change.”
California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom decried the sniper attack as another symptom of gun violence. Texas, like most states in the union, allows people to openly carry long guns, which made it all but impossible to distinguish the sniper before he opened fire.
“In the past 15 hours ... 14 people have died and 38 people have been injured due to gun violence in America (including Dallas),” he wrote on Facebook. “In the past 72 hours ... 99 have died and 220 have been injured. I have nothing else to say tonight except that little boys and little girls are having to grow up way too soon and one big thing standing in the way of these little boys and girls having a chance at a normal childhood is insecure politicians who fear losing the perks of public office more than they fear the idea that a little boy or girl would lose their mother or father.”