The chief of police in Dallas has questioned state laws which allow civilians to carry firearms openly, saying it can hamper investigations.

David Brown also gave further details about the use of a bomb-carrying robot to kill Micah Johnson, the sniper who shot dead five officers at a protest in Dallas last Thursday.

The demonstration followed the deaths of two black men at the hands of police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and St Paul in Minnesota.

State laws in Texas allow gun owners to bear their weapons in public, and gun rights activists often take firearms to rallies to make a political statement

“It is increasingly challenging when people have AR-15s (a type of rifle) slung over, and shootings occur in a crowd,” Mr Brown said.

“And they begin running, and we don’t know if they are a shooter or not.

“We don’t know who the ‘good guy’ versus who the ‘bad guy’ is, if everybody starts shooting.”

Mr Brown did not explicitly call for gun control laws, but said: “I was asked, well, what’s your opinion about guns?

“Well, ask the policymakers to do something and I’ll give you an opinion.

“Do your job. We’re doing ours. We’re putting our lives on the line.

“Other aspects of government need to step up and help us.”

Rick Briscoe, legislative director of the gun rights group Open Carry Texas, said Mr Brown was “simply mistaken” in regarding armed civilians as a problem.

“It is really simple to tell a good guy from a bad guy,” he said.

“If the police officer comes on the situation and he says: ‘Police, put the gun down,’ the good guy does.

“The bad guy probably continues doing what he was doing, or turns on the police officer.”

Mr Brown said police used a Northrop Grumman Corp Mark5A-1 robot to kill Johnson after he was cornered and refused to himself up.

Given his actions and behaviour, they decided there was not a safe way of taking him into custody.

“They improvised this whole idea in about 15, 20 minutes,” Mr Brown said.

“I asked the question of how much (explosives) we were using, and I said ‘Don’t bring the building down.’

“But that was the extent of my guidance.”

The incidents in Louisiana and Minnesota were the latest in a series of high-profile killings of black men by police in various US cities that have triggered angry protests.

On Monday night, a vigil was held for the police officers shot at the march in Dallas.

President Barack Obama, who has described the attack as “vicious, calculated and despicable”, will travel to the city later to speak at an interfaith service for the men.

A White House spokesman said he will try to offer Dallas “some measure of comfort”.

(c) Sky News 2016


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