Lynch: 'Uncertainty' Feelings 'Justified,' But the 'Answer Must Not be Violence'

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Loretta Lynch urged Americans to “reject the easy impulses of bitterness and rancor” and praised law enforcement the day after a shooting at a protest in Dallas left five police officers dead.

Lynch did not provide any additional information about the suspect who was killed by a police robot bearing an explosive. He was identified by news outlets as Micah X. Johnson, 25, of Mesquite, Texas, an Army reservist without a criminal record. He served a year in Afghanistan beginning in 2013.

At a lunchtime vigil, Dallas Police Chief David Brown indicated there may be more involved, calling the attack a “well-planned, well-thought-out, evil tragedy by these suspects.”

“We won’t rest until we bring everyone involved to justice,” Brown said.

Lynch said the Justice Department is in Dallas “working closely with our state and local counterparts, and we intend to provide any assistance that we can to investigate this attack and also to heal a community that has been severely shaken and deeply scarred by an unfathomable tragedy.”

She stressed the attack was “an unfolding situation” and her department would “be providing additional information when it is available and appropriate.”

“But more so, this has been a week of profound grief and heartbreaking lost… after the events of this week, Americans across our country are feeling a sense of helplessness, of uncertainty and of fear. These feelings are understandable and they are justified,” she said. “But the answer must not be violence. The answer is never violence. Rather, the answer, our answer, all our answer must be action. Calm, peaceful, collaborative and determined action.”

“We must continue working to build trust between communities and law enforcement. We must continue working to guarantee every person in this country equal justice under the law. And we must take a hard look at the ease with which wrongdoers can get their hands on deadly weapons and the frequency with which they use them. And we must reflect on the kind of country that we want to build and the kind of society that we are choosing to pass on to our children.”

Lynch stressed that those we’ve lost this week, from the Dallas officers to Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, “have come from different backgrounds, different neighborhoods… they are mourned by all of us.”

“To those who seek to improve our country through peaceful protest and protective speech, I want you to know that your voice is important. Do not be discouraged by those that would use your lawful actions as a cover for their heinous violence,” the attorney general added. “We will continue to safeguard your constitutional rights and to work with you in the difficult mission of building a better nation and a brighter future.”

“To all Americans, I ask you, I implore you, do not let this week precipitate a new normal in this country. I ask you to turn to each other, not against each other, as we move forward. Let us support one another. Let us help heal one another. I urge you to remember today and every day, we are one nation, we are one people and we stand together.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) stressed in a floor speech today that “an attack on the people who protect us is an attack on all of us.”

“This has been a long week for our country. It’s been a long month for America. We have seen terrible, terrible senseless things,” Ryan said. “Every member of this body — every Republican and every Democrat — wants to see less gun violence. Every member of this body wants a world in which people feel safe regardless of the color of their skin. And that’s not how people are feeling these days.”

“Sometimes we disagree on how to get there. Sometimes we disagree passionately on how to get there. But in having this debate, let’s not lose sight of the values that unite us. Let’s not lose sight in our common humanity.”

The Capitol was briefly placed on lockdown this morning on the report of a woman with a gun.