The Washington Post recounts the night five Dallas police officers were killed, from the viewpoint of Sgt. Ivan Gunter, 49, who led a specially trained team of nine Dallas police officers called the Foxtrots who responded to the shooting. In the July twilight, beneath the city’s skyscrapers, a gunman had taken aim at his officers as they stood along Main Street policing a protest rally. The Foxtrots were trained in combat medicine, fugitive apprehension, and tactical surveillance. They responded to shootings, carjackings, and armed robberies. They operated radar guns on high-traffic roads, investigated clusters of vehicle break-ins, tracked robbers snatching women’s purses in parking lots. Some officers considered them a miniature version of the department’s elite SWAT team. The unit had demonstrated success and been replicated at other stations in Dallas.
Gunter needed a team with a variety of skills. He chose one seasoned robbery detective for his knowledge of sophisticated computer programs to help track suspects. He chose another for his enthusiastic tenacity in locating drug houses and cultivating informants. They were a close-knit group who ate together, spent long hours on surveillance together, knew each other’s girlfriends and wives and children. Gunter arrived at work on July 7 informed that his team would help with crowd control that night at a protest against shootings by police. Tensions were high across the U.S.; that week, two videos had gone viral in as many days, showing black men shot dead by police. Asked during the incident if he was OK, Gunter texted back, “No. My people are dead, I’m held up in a stairwell, 1 susp still in the building above me, and the car is shot up . . . I’m pretty far from ok . . . i’m pissed the hell off.”