Gunman surrounded in van after bizarre attack on Dallas police HQ

DALLAS – Dallas police were in a standoff early Saturday with at least one gunman in an armored van that fled the scene of a bizarre attack on Dallas police headquarters with gunfire and planted explosives.

Police chased the vehicle to a restaurant parking lot in the community about Hutchins, where it was surrounded and “disabled, with a .50 caliber rifle, according to Dallas police.

Dallas police chief David Brown told reporters that a suspect— before cutting off negotiations — indicated that the incident involved a child custody issue.

Brown did say police negotiators have been talking to the suspect via cell phone, and the man told them the police “took his child” and “accused him of being a terrorist.”

The man also told negotiators he had been shot, but said police could not confirm that at this time.

It was not immediately clear how many people were involved in the initial attack.

 Witnesses reported that there may be up to three other suspects from the shooting at headquarters, with at least one other person in the van and another in the surrounding area. Brown said investigators are looking into those leads, but that they have only spoken to one person.

Police also found duffel bags near police vehicles at the site. One of them included pipe bombs. At mid-morning, police said that two explosive devices were found at police headquarters and that all suspect packages had been cleared.

One explosive device left under a police vehicle went off around 5:45 a.m. local time as officers attempted to approach it with a bomb squad robot, according to Dallas Police Maj. Max Geron on Twitter.

The initial attack unfolded around 12:30 a.m. local time with at least one suspect was parked in front of the police department building, Brown said. When officers arrived, the suspect rammed the squad cars with his van, shot at officers with an automatic weapon, as officers returned fire. No officers were injured.

Following the gun battle, the suspect led officers in a high-speed chase down Interstate 45, ending in the parking lot of a Jack in the Box in Hutchins, Brown said. The suspect and officers again exchanged gunfire, during which no officers were hit.

The Dallas SWAT team took over negotiations with the suspect, who identified himself as James Boulware. Brown said they have not confirmed if this is the suspect’s identity.

“He said we took his child and we accused him of being a terrorist and that he is going to blow us up,” Brown said. Police have not confirmed the suspect’s motive.

Authorities cautioned that they have not confirmed the man is who he says he is. But in 2013, police in Paris, Texas, said they arrested James Lance Boulware after he obtained firearms, ammunition and body armor before threatening to attack his family, churches and schools. Police said then that he was taken into custody on two felony warrants from Dallas County.

However, it appears the case against him was dismissed last year after he fulfilled requirements imposed on him by a court.

While cautioned that the name of the suspect has not been confirmed, officials said say that a man named James Boulware has had previous interactions with the police involving family violence. Investigators are following up on those leads.

The Dallas Morning News reports that in 2013, police in Paris, Texas, said they arrested a man named James Lance Boulware after he obtained firearms, ammunition and body armor before threatening to attack his family, churches and schools.

Police said at the time that he was taken into custody on two felony warrants from Dallas County, the newspaper says, however the case against him apparently was dismissed last year after he fulfilled requirements imposed on him by a court.

Brown noted that police officers around the country have been threatened in recent months, specifically referencing the December attacks that left two officers dead in New York City. But the Dallas police has not previously received threats, he said.

Doug Stanglin and Jessica Estepa reported from Washington, D.C.

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