Among the numerous mostly peaceful protests across the country overnight, another deadly incident between a lone black gunman and police took place shortly after midnight on Saturday, one which will further raise tensions and likely lead to more deadly escalation of this week's events.
According to ACB13, two Houston officers shot and killed an armed man on the city's south side early this morning. Police says the officers involved were wearing body cameras and they each fired multiple shots.
— Marla Carter (@MarlaABC13) July 9, 2016
Houston Police Department officials say the shooting happened on Cullen near Ward around 12:40am. Officers say they saw a man with a revolver standing in the road. There were two officers in one vehicle and they asked the man to put the revolver down. Police say a witness also asked him to drop the weapon. Officers say instead of dropping the gun, the man raised his weapon pointing it in the air. He then lowered it and pointed it at the two officers.
Immediately after, HPD says they each fired multiple shots and he died at the scene.
Bystander Eric Puckett told KTRK-TV that the victim was a black male. The officers' races were not immediately known.
A woman who says she's the man's wife later identified him as Alva Braziel.
— Marla Carter (@MarlaABC13) July 9, 2016
KTRK says one of the unidentified officers is a 10-year veteran of the force, and the other is a 13-year veteran. As is routine following any officer-involved shooting, the officers will be investigated by internal affairs, along with Harris County.
Abc13 cites a bystander, Eric Puckett, who told abc13 he thinks black men in the area are being targeted. "It's like we got a target on our back even if we're innocent, it hurts," said Puckett. "You don't even want to walk outside your house any more. But to all the young black men and young black women out there, all black people, do something positive." It was unclear if Puckett had anything to say about the alleged shooter pointing his gun at police officers when told to stand down.
A nearby gas station captured the scene and police say the video will confirm what happened, along with witness testimony. Police continue to investigate at the scene where a large crowd has gathered. abc13 writes that its reporters saw shell casings and the revolver among the evidence markers.
Dwight Boykins tells abc13, "The biggest gorilla in the room is very clear. We need to put officers in neighborhoods that reflect the neighborhood."
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Meanwhile, speaking in Poland, President Obama addressed the ongoing events in the US and said that America is "not as divided" as it was in the 1960s, while admitting this has been "a very tough week" for the nation. Obama added that Americans of all races and backgrounds are "rightly outraged" by the deadly attack on Dallas police officers, and "rightly saddened and angered" by the fatal police shooting of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota.
"You're not seeing riots. You're not seeing police going after people who are protesting peacefully. You've seen, almost uniformly, peaceful protests and you've seen, uniformly, police handling those protests with professionalism," Obama said.
"We have to make sure that all of us step back, do some reflection and make sure that the rhetoric we engage in is constructive and not destructive. That we're not painting anybody with an overly broad brush and we're not constantly thinking the worst in other people rather than the best."
"Police have a really difficult time in communities where they know guns are everywhere," he said. "And as I said before, they have a right to come home and now they have very little margin of error in terms of making decisions. "If you care about the safety of police officers, then you can't set aside the gun issue," Obama said.
The president also said that those who protested the killings of the two black men are as outraged as anyone by the killings of five police officers in Dallas.
Obama says that "as tough, as hard, as depressing" as has been the loss of lives this week, "we've got a foundation to build on."
He then proceeded to pivot to his favorite topic, gun control, saying he would continue to lobby for gun control in the wake of the series of shootings, adding that it should be "harder for disturbed people to get guns." It was unclear if he was referring to US police officers, whose response he broadly criticized on Thursday, and tried to placate today by saying that there has been a "huge drop" in murder rates in the US which is a "testament to smarter policing."
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 9, 2016