DALLAS – Texas State Trooper B. Borja and Dallas Police Officer M. Harder are stationed for who knows how long at the perimeter of the huge crime scene in the middle of downtown. People whose cars are parked inside the crime scene tape are out of luck for the moment. Businesses in the immediate area are closed and traffic is being diverted.
Residents have been stopping by periodically to ask for updates but mostly to express their support.
“We appreciate it,” Borja said after a few people stopped by to shake hands Saturday morning. “Hopefully, we’ll never have to go through something like this again.”
Cruisers outside police headquarters were covered in bouquets, teddy bears and other mementoes and smaller tributes have cropped up at the shooting site.
Adisa Onu lives just down the street from where the shooting occurred and watched the massacre unfold from his 24th floor balcony.
“I was just shocked at what was going on,” he said.
Some of his friends’ cars are parked near where the shooting occurred, an area inaccessible to anyone but law enforcement at the moment. He stopped by to ask Borja and Harder when his friends might be able to retrieve their cars (they haven’t been told) and to say he appreciated the officers.
“I understand what the protesters are accomplishing,” he said. “I see them as a change agent.”
But he says the Dallas sniper attacks could divert attraction from activists’ goals.
“What happened during the protests was detrimental to the cause,” he said.
The protest, like many across the country, including Atlanta, was organized to express outrage over police-involved shootings elsewhere, and support for the fallen officers hasn’t erased the tensions that spurred the march in the first place.
Dallas resident Keon Collins walked by the shooting site on Friday night, slowly and deliberately, with his middle finger raised as he walked past officers.
“My thoughts go out to the victims,” he said. “They were good people.”
His one-finger salute was meant as a statement against police brutality in general, he said.
“The police have been getting away with this for years and they’re not going to get away with it anymore,” he said. He stressed that he does not condone the shooting but says it provides “a good lesson to the police: Stop killing.”