A man pictured with what appeared to be an assault rifle at the scene of the killing of five police officers in Dallas has been released from custody and says he was an innocent bystander who was wrongly accused.
(Article by Chris Summers)
Mark Hughes was pictured walking through Dallas with what appeared to be an assault rifle.
He turned himself into police after cops made a public appeal and his family said he was an innocent bystander. He has since been released by police.
Four gunman shot 12 police officers – killing at least five – in downtown Dallas on Thursday night.
Mr Hughes said: ‘I can’t believe it. In hindsight, with 20/20 I could easily have been shot.’
He said he did not even know that his photograph was being shown on TV and he was being suggested as a suspect.
Mr Hughes said: ‘We received a phonecall that my face was on as a suspect and I immediately flagged down a police officer.’
A reporter from KTVT asked him: ‘So while the country was looking for you, you were talking to police?’
He replied: ‘Yeah I was talking to police, laughing and joking with police officers.’
But he said he was later interrogated by the police.
Dallas Police released an image of Hughes brandishing a rifle as he walked through the city carrying an assault rifle and wearing a camouflage shirt. The force tweeted: ‘Please help us find him!’ but he was released after handing over the weapon and being questioned
Mr Hughes said: ‘Police officers were lying. They said they had video of me shooting the gun, which is a lie. They said they had witnesses saying that I shot a gun, which is a lie. At the end of the day the system was trying to get me.’
The reporter asked him if he had got an apology from the police.
He replied: ‘I said “now you have my face on national news are y’all going to come out and say that this young man had nothing to do with it”.’
Mr Hughes said he had not received an apology.
Mark Hughes, pictured, is furious about being wrongly identified as a suspect. He said one minute he was ‘laughing and joking’ with police and the next minute they were ‘lying’ about having witnesses who saw him shooting the gun
Earlier footage emerged of him handing over the weapon to police.
Cory Hughes earlier told KTVT his brother had brought the weapon – which was unloaded – to the protest simply to exercise his Second Amendment rights to bear arms.
It is thought the gun may have been an AR-15 assault rifle, which is legal to carry in Texas. The weapon has been highlighted recently as it has been used in many of America’s gun massacres but has not been outlawed by Congress.
After his brother was released Cory Hughes told CBS11 TV: ‘I am so overwhelmed with emotion right now. I’m trying to be strong right now for my family that I know is watching. but I’m crying on the inside because we simply came to be a voice, for those that don’t have a voice and we went from being a voice, to being a suspects and being villains and my question is why?’
On Thursday night Dallas Police released an image of Mr Hughes brandishing a rifle as he walked through the city wearing a camouflage shirt.
The force tweeted: ‘Please help us find him!’
But a video showed him wandering among panicked protesters moments after gunfire erupted and he was not shooting.
Dallas Police are understood to have said that Mr Hughes was only ever a ‘person of interest’ and never a suspect.
Four snipers shot 12 police officers – killing five – and claimed to have planted a bomb in downtown Dallas. A gruesome video shows a heroic policeman taking on one of gunmen, but being gunned down by the shooter
The ‘coordinated’ shooters opened fire from ‘elevated positions’, picking off officers ‘ambush style’. Pictured, a police officer lies stricken next to cop cars
The shooting started at 8.45pm as hundreds of protesters marched through Dallas demanding justice for two black men shot dead by police earlier this week.
Horrifying footage shows peaceful protesters chanting ‘hands up, don’t shoot’ before suddenly scattering as shots were fired near Belo Garden Park.
Another video captures semi-automatic gunfire ringing out, with dozens of shots heard as people scream and run for cover.
One of the alleged shooters – wearing tactical gear and a bulletproof vest – was hunkered down in a garage earlier on Thursday evening and engaged cops in a shootout before he was detained, a police source told Fox 4.
An horrific video taken on a cell phone by a terrified Dallas resident shows a heroic policeman trying to shoot one of the gunmen.
The officer is seen ducking behind a pillar but being shot by the gunman, who then stands over the cop and pumps another bullet into him.
Police Chief Brown said it appeared the shooters ‘planned to injure and kill as many officers as they could’.
The suspects ‘threatened to plant a bomb in the downtown area’, Brown added.
Most of downtown Dallas is expected to be closed down today.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott offered ‘whatever assistance the City of Dallas needs at this time’.
‘In times like this we must remember – and emphasize – the importance of uniting as Americans,’ he said.
The search for the gunmen stretched throughout downtown, an area of hotels, restaurants, businesses and some residential apartments. The scene was chaotic, with helicopters hovering overhead and officers with automatic rifles on the street corners.
‘Everyone just started running,’ Devante Odom, 21, told The Dallas Morning News. ‘We lost touch with two of our friends just trying to get out of there.’
Carlos Harris, who lives downtown, told the newspaper the shooters ‘were strategic. It was tap tap pause. Tap tap pause’.
Hundreds of people had marched through Dallas peacefully earlier on Thursday, demanding justice for Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, who were shot dead by police.
Police officers were seen shielding bystanders as they tried to evacuate the streets.
The shootings came as th ousands of people attended demonstrations against police brutality across America, with marches taking place in New York, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Chicago and Washington DC, as well as in Louisiana and Minnesota – where Sterling and Castile were killed.
Anger boiled over in Manhattan earlier on Thursday, where a group of women protesting the deaths were seen being arrested in Times Square.
For the third night in a row, thousands of people protested outside the store in Baton Rouge where Sterling, 37, was shot dead by police in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Meanwhile tensions continued to escalate in St Paul after the shooting of Philando Castile, where hundreds more people marched through the streets with signs labeling police officers ‘murderers’.
The huge swell of protests is in response to the shootings of Sterling and Castile, who were both apparently not posing a serious threat to police officers when they were fatally shot.
Sterling, a street seller in Baton Rouge, was tackled to ground by officers after a 911 call was made – allegedly by a homeless man – about a black man who had flashed a firearm.
Officers Howie Lake and Blane Salamoni pinned the father-of-five down before firing six shots at Sterling, who had a gun in his pocket but did not appear to make any attempts to take it out during the confrontation.
Sterling was on probation and should not have been carrying a weapon. It is not clear which of the two officers – who are now on administrative leave – fired the shots.
It also emerged that Lake was previously suspended for his involvement of the shooting of another black man in December 2014.
There were claims of an attempted cover-up after police seized CCTV footage from the store where Sterling was shot, however it is now understood that the footage will be handed over to federal investigators.
The store’s owner, Abdullah Muflahi, said the video and his entire surveillance system was taken without a warrant.
He recorded a separate, gruesome video of the incident on his cell phone and told Daily Mail Online that he feared police would attempt to seize his phone and delete the evidence.
When asked why he had not handed over the cellphone film, he said: ‘I did not show them. When the cop was getting up, I put my phone away because I knew they were going to take it away.
‘The truth had to come out. I did hold back from giving it to anybody for the first few hours till I had got my lawyers.’
Asked what he meant by the ‘truth’ he replied: ‘I felt they didn’t need to kill him.’
Castile was shot by an officer in St Pauls, a suburb of Minneapolis, on Wednesday after his car was stopped for a routine traffic stop.
His girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, insisted that police had stopped them for a busted tail light, which she claims wasn’t even busted, and that Castile told the officer he had a firearm on him and a license, before the cop began shooting ‘for no reason’.
She livestreamed the moments after the shooting on Facebook, showing Castile dying in the front of the car as blood seeped from his chest.
Hundreds of people gathered in Times Square and Union Square in New York on Thursday to protest against the shootings, with tensions bubbling over.
A group of women among the protesters were arrested, although it is not clear whether the demonstrations became violent at any stage.
Dozens more formed a crowd outside the White House in a symbolic protest that saw them wave placards and chant for change.
Protests also took place in Chicago, Philadelphia and Atlanta, as well as in Baton Rouge, where protesters continued to block traffic.
Also voicing her anger was Beyonce, who paused her show in Glasgow, Scotland, to display names of police brutality victims.
In an open letter, the Lemonade singer said: ‘We are sick and tired of the killings of young men and women in our communities. It is up to us to take a stand and demand that they “stop killing us”.
‘We don’t need sympathy. We need everyone to respect our lives.
‘We’re going to stand up as a community and fight against anyone who believes that murder or any violent action by those who are sworn to protect us should consistently go unpunished.’
Read more at: dailymail.co.uk