El Centro Police Officers Maintained Posts While Injured During Ambush

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The El Centro Police Chief says two of his five officers who were in the building when the downtown ambush of police officers happened last Thursday night during a Black Lives Matter rally, maintained their posts after being injured.

Chief Joseph Hannigan says as his officers were responding to the sound of gunfire, the glass doors to the building “exploded with gunfire.”

One officer suffered glass wounds to his leg.  The other has shrapnel in his abdomen.  That officer will have surgery later this week to have the shrapnel removed.

No students were injured.  Chief Hannigan said his five officers did not fire their weapons, while shooter Micah Johnson was in a section of the school.

“We have multiple gunshots and walls and ceilings.  There’s a very tough gunfight at the end where he barricaded himself.  It was unsafe for any police officer to enter the area to reach the suspect,” said Hannigan.

Chief Hannigan says there were about 60 students in the building having classes when the shooting began.  Eight were rescued from a janitorial closet after the Chief received confirmation from DPD that Johnson, was dead.

The building remained on lockdown until that moment.

That’s when officers cleared the building and students and faculty were escorted out by DPD and FBI and put on a city bus to Dallas Police Headquarters.

“I made the decision to have the officers stay inside and lock the doors,” said Chief Hannigan.  Due to the protest he said, “I didn’t want people straggling into the college. It just creates a dangerous environment for strangers to come in while classes are going on.”

On the events of that night, El Centro’s president, Dr. Jose Adames said, “El Centro family is grieving the loss of our brothers in the Dallas Police Department and the DART officer who gave their lives that night.”

He said, “These were individuals that were extraordinarily brave and committed to our community.  Our hearts go out to their families.”

On how everyone else inside the El Centro downtown campus was kept safe during the ambush of police, Chief Hannigan said, “We just train and train and train for these types of events because we never know when they’re going to happen,” said Chief Hannigan.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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