REDFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. - One of the Dallas police officers who were killed during a protest over fatal police shootings of black men in other states was a Michigan native.
Michael Krol was from Redford Township. His uncle, Jim Ehlke, said Krol had a passion for helping people -- and that being an officer was his life dream.
"He got into law enforcement and worked really hard to be a police officer. He spent some time at the correctional facility. It wasn’t quite what he was looking for, so he worked pretty hard to find a job and got one in Dallas," Ehlke said. "He was all in, he was all in."
Ehlke said the family always worried about Krol's safety, but knew he was committed to the job.
Krol worked for the Wayne County Sheriff's Office from 2003 to 2007.
“We are saddened by the loss of the dedicated officers in Dallas -- one of whom was a former member of this agency -- and also the wounding of the other officers,” said Sheriff Beny Napoleon. “Those officers made the ultimate sacrifice and died honoring their oaths to protect and serve. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families and also the Dallas Police Department.”
Gov. Rick Snyder: We are all grieving with Dallas
“My heart is with the Dallas Police Department, the Dallas Area Rapid Transit police, and the communities they serve. Sue and I are offering up prayers for the victims of this senseless tragedy, their colleagues and their families. People sign up to be police officers to protect and to serve the public. This attack on the men and women who work to keep us safe was an attack on all of us, and we are all joining in their sorrow.
“I was notified today that one of the fallen officers in Dallas is a Michigan native who previously worked in law enforcement in Southeast Michigan. We didn’t need this tragedy to be brought home to feel its impact, but still it hurts more this way.
“I cannot imagine what went through the minds of law enforcement officers across the nation this morning as they woke up to prepare for work. I want them to know that Michigan stands with each of them who bravely reported for duty today to continue protecting and serving in the wake of this tragedy.
“To the families and colleagues of the officers killed in Dallas, we grieve with you. We will always be grateful for your sacrifice. We will not forget.”
Snyder also ordered that all flags be lowered until Tuesday in remembrance of all the victims.
5 officers dead, 7 hurt in Dallas protest shooting
Police Chief David Brown blamed "snipers," but it was unclear how many shooters were involved. Authorities initially said three suspects were in custody and a fourth dead. But Brown later said police were not certain that all suspects had been located.
Mayor Mike Rawlings said the dead suspect was killed by police using explosives in a parking garage where the man had exchanged gunfire with officers.
Before dying, the police chief said, the suspect declared to officers that he was upset about recent shootings and wanted to kill whites, "especially white officers."
The suspect also said he was not affiliated with any groups and stated that he acted alone, Brown added.
None of the suspects was identified, and the police chief said he would not disclose any details about them until authorities were sure everyone involved was in custody.
The shooting began about 8:45 p.m. Thursday while hundreds of people were gathered to protest the week's fatal police shootings in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and suburban St. Paul, Minnesota. Brown told reporters the snipers fired "ambush-style" on the officers. Two civilians were also wounded, Rawlings said.
Brown said it appeared the shooters "planned to injure and kill as many officers as they could."
Video from the scene showed protesters marching along a downtown street about half a mile from City Hall when shots erupted and the crowd scattered, seeking cover. Officers crouched beside vehicles, armored SWAT team vehicles arrived and a helicopter hovered overhead.
Thursday's shootings occurred in an area of hotels, restaurants, businesses and some residential apartments only a few blocks from Dealey Plaza, the landmark made famous by the Kennedy assassination.
Video posted on social media appeared to show a gunman at ground level exchanging fire with a police officer who was then felled.
Rawlings said one of wounded officers had a bullet go through his leg as three members of his squad were fatally shot around him.
"He felt that people don't understand the danger of dealing with a protest," said Rawlings, who spoke to the surviving officer. "And that's what I learned from this. We care so much about people protesting, and I think it's their rights. But how we handle it can do a lot of things. One of the things it can do is put our police officers in harm's way, and we have to be very careful about doing that."
Early Friday morning, dozens of officers filled the corridor of the emergency room at Baylor Medical Center, where other wounded officers were taken. The mayor and police chief were seen arriving there.
Four of the officers who were killed were with the Dallas Police Department, a spokesman said. One was a Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer. The agency said in a statement that 43-year-old officer Brent Thompson, a newlywed whose bride also works for the police force, was the first officer killed in the line of duty since the agency formed a police department in 1989.
"Our hearts are broken," the statement said.
Theresa Williams said one of the wounded civilians was her sister, 37-year-old Shetamia Taylor, who was shot in the right calf. She had thrown herself over her four sons, ages 12 to 17, when the shooting began.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott directed the Texas Department of Public Safety to offer "whatever assistance the City of Dallas needs."
"In times like this we must remember -- and emphasize -- the importance of uniting as Americans," Abbott said.
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