Some of South Carolina’s lawmakers have offered their own reactions in response to the fatal Thursday shooting of 4 Dallas Police officers and 1 Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer. Seven other officers and two civilians were also injured by a suspected sniper, who Dallas Police said they later killed the shooter by detonating a bomb during a standoff Friday morning.
Dallas Police said the gunman had told them in the standoff that he was frustrated by the deaths of black citizens at the hands of law enforcement and wanted to “kill white people, especially white officers,” Police Chief David Brown told reporters.
While many of the state’s elected officials offered similar statements as in other shooting tragedies that occurred out of state, some like US Reps. Trey Gowdy and Tom Rice, also called for national unity in response to the shootings.
US. Sen. Tim Scott took the time to write out a 400-word essay on the Dallas shootings and the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, two African-American men whose shootings by police officers this week were filmed by witnesses. Scott wrote that the country “feels like it is fraying” and urged “we must have tough conversations. We must put ourselves in each other’s shoes.
“We cannot, will not, let hate win. We have bridges to cross, but we cannot allow madmen to widen the divide,” the senator wrote.
Gov. Nikki Haley:
US Sen. Lindsey Graham
US Rep. Trey Gowdy
US Rep. Tom Rice:
Two more tweeted their thoughts and prayers as the situation was still ongoing overnight:
US Rep. Mark Sanford: “Horrible news out of #Dallas. It’s never easy to learn someone gave all in service of others, & accordingly, I’m praying for those affected.”
Some members of South Carolina’s law enforcement community also offered their support for their Dallas counterparts.
Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook and Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott released a lengthy joint statement: Included was the comment that “Law enforcement cannot be effective unless we have the trust and confidence of our community, and that trust is based on transparency, accountability and legitimacy. As many of you know, there is a national movement to improve community-police relationships and to implement reforms in the police profession… . We have committed ourselves to re-evaluating our use of force policies and procedures, training our officers to de-escalate situations and building and sustaining collaborative problem-solving partnerships with our citizenry.”
Myrtle Beach Police Chief Warren Gall: “On behalf of the Myrtle Beach Police Department, I want to express my deepest sympathies to the families, friends and co-workers of the 4 officers from the Dallas PD and 1 officer from the Dallas Transit PD who were killed overnight while protecting the rights of the citizens of Dallas who were participating in a protest event. In addition, we offer our prayers to those injured, and hope for a full recovery. This attack on law enforcement officers in Dallas is an attack on all law enforcement officers and public safety officials across this country, and a cowardly attack against American values and what we hold as sacred and right. Our community is made up of good people, people who support the laws, and support those who have been hired to enforce the laws. We ask for your patience and understanding as we mourn the loss of these brave officers who have sacrificed everything for their community. We care about this community and all the people that we serve, and we appreciate the support we receive. Please join with me in showing our community support to Dallas by being an example of togetherness and calm in the face of this terrible tragedy.”
Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis: “Everyone at the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office stands together with our brothers and sisters of the Dallas Police Department. Our hearts are heavy and we are overwhelmingly saddened by the recent cowardly acts that injured and took the lives of the officers from the Dallas Police Department. Please pray for the families of all of these officers. #DallasPoliceDepartment
Aiken County Sheriff Mike Hunt: “Sheriff Hunt and the employees of the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office send our thoughts and prayers to the Dallas Police Department, the Dallas Rapid Transit Agency, families of law enforcement officers, the citizens of Dallas, and our country. You are not alone. It is our greatest hope that justice, unity and healing prevails for every mother, father, son, or daughter who had suffered a tragic loss not only in Texas but through out this country.”