Standoff is award-winning journalist Jamie Thompson's gripping account of a deadly night in Dallas, told through the eyes of those at the center of the events, who offer a nuanced look at race and policing in America
On the evening of July 7, 2016, protesters gathered in cities across the nation after police shot two black men, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. As officers patrolled a march in Dallas, a young man stepped out of an SUV wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying a high-powered rifle. He killed five officers and wounded eleven others.
It fell to a small group of cops to corner the shooter inside a community college, where a fierce gun battle was followed by a stalemate. Crisis negotiator Larry Gordon, a 21-year department veteran, spent hours bonding with the gunman—over childhood ghosts and death and shared experiences of racial injustice in America—while his colleagues devised an unprecedented plan to bring the night to its dramatic end.
Thompson’s minute-by-minute account includes intimate portrayals of the negotiator, a surgeon who operated on the fallen officers, a mother of four shot down in the street, and the SWAT officers tasked with stopping the gunman. This is a deeply affecting story of real people navigating a terrifying crisis and a city's attempts to heal its divisions.
Journalist Thompson debuts with a spellbinding and meticulously researched account of the deadly attack on Dallas law enforcement officers at a July 2016 rally to protest the police shootings of Philando Castile, in Minnesota, and Alton Sterling, in Louisiana. Drawing on interviews and video and audio recordings, Thompson recreates the assault which killed five police officers, wounded 11 people, and ended with the death of attacker Micah Xavier Johnson by robot-delivered bomb from the perspectives of key players including Dallas police chief David Brown; SWAT team negotiator Larry Gordon; protester Shetamia Taylor, who was shot in the leg while shielding her son from Johnson's bullets; and trauma surgeon Brian Williams, who operated on the wounded officers. Thompson laces her moment-by-moment rundown of the event with harrowing descriptions of the string of police killings that galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement, and illuminating historical tangents about the JFK assassination, the Attica prison uprising, and the disastrous 1985 police bombing of a black activist group's headquarters in Philadelphia. Throughout, she spotlights the complexities of the racial dynamics involved, noting, for example, that Williams, "the only black doctor on a team of twelve trauma surgeons," both sympathized with Johnson's anger over police killings of black men and tried to save the lives of the white cops he targeted. This standout account is both a riveting page-turner and a nuanced portrait of one of contemporary America's most divisive social issues.