Port Arthur native dies in Dallas mass shooting

Dallas shooting - photo from youtube.com

At least one sniper targeted law enforcement officers in a deadly mass shooting in Dallas on Thursday, July 7, killing five officers and wounding several others, including two civilians. One of the officers killed in the shooting was a Port Arthur native.

The shooting reportedly broke out as protestors took to the streets in opposition of the shooting deaths of two black men in separate incidents in Minnesota and Louisiana. Both men were shot by police officers, and both deaths were recorded with cell phones and broadcast online. The peaceful protest turned chaotic as shots rang out in the night and police officers rushed civilians toward cover, some also ducking behind vehicles for safety and others running toward the gunfire to reach its source, according to video of the incident.

As police targeted a suspect in the attack, the man fled into a parking garage for cover, and another officer was injured as fire was exchanged there. Police reportedly attempted to negotiate with the suspect, later identified as 25-year-old Micah Xavier Johnson of Mesquite. According to multiple reports, Johnson told officers he "wanted to kill white people, especially white officers," and that others would die as he had planted bombs around downtown Dallas. He refused to surrender, and officers ultimately sent in a police robot armed with an explosive. The robot targeted the shooter and the explosive device detonated, killing Johnson and ending the carnage. 

Michael Smith, 55, was one of the officers killed in Dallas. Smith grew up in Port Arthur and graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School. After graduation, he joined the Army and became a Ranger. He later attended Lamar University, and graduated from the police academy in Dallas before becoming an officer with the Dallas Police Department. Smith leaves behind a wife and two children.