Mark Hughes is either the unluckiest man in the world or the luckiest, depending on how you look at it.
Unlucky in that we was singled out by the Dallas Police Association as a suspect in Thursday night’s sniper shootings that so far has left five police officers dead and seven wounded, his picture tweeted out to tens of thousands of people in the country, a man considered armed and dangerous.
A man who could have easily been shot and killed by police during their frantic search for a gunman or by anybody else for that matter considering Texas is a very gun-friendly state.
But lucky in that he wasn’t shot and killed, even though a video shows several cops pass him by less than an hour after his photo was tweeted with the words, “This is one of our suspects. Please help us find him!”
The cops, some in cars, some on motorcycles and some on foot, probably didn’t think the suspect would be hiding in plain sight among dozens of people who had been protesting against police violence when the shootings broke out, so they probably weren’t analyzing the crowd in search of him.
@redban did you take this photo, may we use it on air and online?
— WFAA-TV (@wfaachannel8) July 8, 2016
Hughes, for his part, had no idea he was listed as a suspect for he was just one of hundreds of protesters that had demonstrated against the police slaying of Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Louisiana earlier this week.
The only difference is that he was marching with a rifle strapped to his body, which is legal in Texas. He was also wearing a camouflage shirt, which led to police to deduce that he was one of the shooters.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown also handed out his photo to reporters during a press conference last night which was recorded on Periscope, calling him a “person of interest,” which is not quite calling him a suspect, but saying he wanted to bring him to justice anyway.
Brown also did not remind reporters that open carry is legal in Texas.
When word reached Hughes that he was wanted by police, he turned himself and his gun in. He was accompanied by his brother, Cory Hughes, who began live streaming on Facebook from the police department, describing what was taking place, telling his viewers that his brother was innocent despite him being labeled a suspect.
Twenty seconds into the video, a cop told him he needed to stop recording because “with everything going on.” Hughes debated for about a minute before turning the phone off.
An hour later, he began live streaming another video on Facebook, informing viewers that police had searched through his phone, including his emails, as well as swab his hands for gunpowder before police could fully determine that he and his brother did not take part in the shooting that also left two citizens wounded.
Both videos are posted below.
An attorney for Hughes said he received thousands of death threats as a result of the tweet, according to the Washington Post.
During a televised news conference early Friday, lawyers for the brothers said Mark Hughes was carrying his gun legally, though may be apprehensive about doing so in the future. They argued the police department’s tweet, and its subsequent spread, sowed confusion and put their lives at risk.
“They have received thousands of death threats already,” said attorney Corwyn Davis during the conference. “Unfortunately, there was a lot of negligence with that picture.” Davis said it was also unclear when or if the Hughes brothers were read their Miranda rights at the police station.
Moments ago, Brown spoke at another press conference saying one of the suspects was killed by a robotic device after negotiations with police faltered.
Before the suspect was killed, he told police he was upset about the Black Lives Matter movement, upset about the recent police shootings, upset at white people and that he wanted to kill white people, especially white police officers.
The suspect, whose name was not released, also told officers he was not part of any organization.
However, police earlier said there were more than one shooter and that they have others in custody, but that was not elaborated on during the press conference.
But now it appears as if there was only one shooter, who can be seen in this video shooting an officer.
UPDATE: The killer has been identified as Micah X. Johnson, a 25-year-old army veteran.