Despair, heartbreak and outrage filled social media Friday morning after five Dallas police officers were killed and six others wounded when snipers opened fire during an anti-police protest Thursday night.
Messages of condolences for the slain officers were met with outrage over U.S. gun laws and concerns over racial tensions as the hashtags #Dallas and #PrayforAmerica trended on Twitter.
“Our country is turning itself inside out,” wrote one user. “My heart is heavy.”
Gunfire broke out around 8:45 p.m. while hundreds of people were gathered to protest the fatal police shootings this week in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and suburban St. Paul, Minnesota. Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown told reporters the snipers fired “ambush style” upon the officers.
At least four suspects were involved in the shooting, three of which are in custody. The fourth suspect was “neutralized” during a standoff with police, after threatening the “end is coming” for police officers.
Many Twitter users decried the police killings, urging their fellow citizens not to “fight fire with fire.”
Several prominent Black Lives Matter leaders took to their accounts to condemn the attacks and deny claims the group advocates violence against police; some noting that while Dallas Police paid the ultimate price, protesters were also traumatized by the attack.
“This is not the time to play the blame game it is the time to stand together,” said Dominique Alexander, one of the organizers of Thursday’s protest.
Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King praised Dallas Police for being “one of the better police departments in the country” and noted the force has welcomed protests in the past.
“I hate police brutality. I don’t hate police. This violence is wrong on every level. It is as American as apple pie, but wrong nonetheless,” he wrote.
Several world leaders, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, also used social media to condemn the attack and share their condolences. France’s national police service also shared a tribute to their American colleagues.
WATCH: Obama comments on the death of several police officers during Dallas Protest