Pa., N.J., and Del. leaders react to Dallas shootings, demonstrations

    Investigators walk the scene of a shooting in downtown Dallas

    Investigators walk the scene of a shooting in downtown Dallas

    Across the region, politicians and everyday citizens are reacting to the news of the carnage in Dallas, where a dozen police officers were shot down by at least one gunman.

    Five of the officers have died in the apparently racially motivated assault that followed widespread protests in Dallas over police killings of black men in two other cities. Similar marches have taken place in Philadelphia.

    Amid lowered flags, an outpouring of prayers, grief, outrage, and measured restraint are twined in those reactions.

    Here are some of them: 

    “In the hours following the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and now the deaths of the officers in Dallas, I searched for the right words to express my profound grief. The phrase “my thoughts and prayers” has lost its meaning to me, and I do not know what it’s like to walk in a black man’s or a police officer’s shoes. So, instead of speaking, I listened.

    “I listened to the story of Alton Sterling. A father.

    “I listened to the story of Philando Castile. A mentor.

    “I listened to the story of Brent Thompson. A police officer and newlywed.

    “In the hours and days to come, we will learn more about the other four Dallas police officers, Brent Thompson, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. Their stories will break our hearts and enrage our souls, but I ask all Philadelphians not to react in hate, anger or violence, but instead to grieve with the nation by listening to one another.

    “I have profound respect for the peaceful protesters who marched in Philadelphia last night to demand change, and I have a profound respect for the Philadelphia police officers who stood ready to protect them and who put their lives on the line for this city every day. The only way to achieve the peace we all seek is to listen and to be willing to hear one another.”

    — Jim Kenney, Philadelphia mayor

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    “My heart breaks for Dallas. Five brave officers who served their community will not return home to their families today, and another seven officers are recovering from gunshot wounds after deranged criminals opened sniper fire during an otherwise peaceful protest.

    “The events witnessed last night in Texas are disgusting acts of violence that cannot be tolerated. Every day, police officers across the country put their lives on the line to protect civilians and keep our communities safe. We must always be grateful to them for their bravery and the work they do to ensure our freedoms.

    “This has been a trying week for our country. We’ve seen brutal videos of men killed by law enforcement officials in Louisiana and Minnesota, and these deaths have contributed to fury and unrest around the country regarding fair and equal treatment of all Americans by the people who are meant to keep them safe.

    “In moments like this, American resolve to join together with compassion, respect and love is the only salve that will heal us. We have so much work to do, but by embracing our brothers and sisters and treating them as we, ourselves, would like to be treated, we can overcome even the most heartbreaking tragedies.”

    — Tom Carper, Delaware U.S. senator

    “Mary Pat and I are sick and heartbroken, as our thoughts and prayers are with the officers killed and injured in yesterday’s vicious shootings, along with their family and friends.

    “The people of New Jersey mourn with the city of Dallas and the Dallas law enforcement community. Brave police officers all across this country who protect us on a daily basis deserve to be supported by all Americans.

    “We must unite as a country and recommit ourselves to law and order, safety for our citizens and respect for each other and reject the hatred and violence behind these attacks.”

    — Chris Christie, New Jersey governor

    “Today is a day to hug our kids tighter and to offer up our prayers and thanks for those who keep us safe. Our police officers and first responders serve in roles in which before every shift they hug their spouses and kids, knowing their job involves real risks. This morning, for five families in Dallas, that knowledge became a tragic reality.

    “We have seen far too many tragic deaths this week, and we mourn all of the lives taken too soon. Every day, but especially on days like this, all Americans must come together peacefully to begin to heal our wounds and build towards a community of respect and compassion.”

    — Chris Coons, Delaware U.S. senator

    “We must treat each other with compassion and understanding.

    “We must seek to understand each other, our similarities and our differences. And we must never, ever let violence beget violence.”

    — Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania governor

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