‘We can and must do better’

DALLAS — A nation is mourning five fallen officers who died when a lone gunman opened fire on Dallas police monitoring a protest Thursday night

It’s the kind of thing that doesn’t happen on Kauai, said county spokesman Sarah Blane.

The Kauai Police Department has never experienced anything similar to what transpired beginning around 9 p.m. CDT Thursday when a barrage of bullets sprayed down on demonstrators and officers during a peaceful protest relating to the officer-related deaths of two black men who had died earlier in the week.

Protesters were in an uproar over the police killings of two black men: a Minnesota officer on Wednesday fatally shot Philando Castile while he was in a car with a woman and a child, and the shooting’s aftermath was live streamed in a widely shared Facebook video. A day earlier, Alton Sterling was shot in Louisiana after being pinned to the pavement by two white officers. That, too, was captured on a cellphone video.

The attack on officers left police departments across the nation on edge with many amping up forces.

The man identified as 25-year-old Micah Johnson told authorities he was upset about the fatal police shootings of two black men earlier this week and wanted to exterminate whites, “especially white officers,” officials said.

Rep. Dee Morikawa said it’s easy for people here to believe that what happens on the mainland doesn’t affect people in Hawaii because they live so far away, but the reality is that it’s “scary as it affects the nation as a whole.”

“I am horrified to hear stories like this. We are fortunate that we live over here, but we have to be mindful of these types of events,” Morikawa said. “We would hope that police have things under control and remember that it’s their job to protect us.”

Video from the Dallas 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.

In Washington, the nation’s top law enforcement official, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, called for calm, saying the recent violence can’t be allowed to “precipitate a new normal.”

Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar said his heart goes out to “everyone who has been victimized by law enforcement because of the color of their skin.”

“As the top law enforcement representative in our county, I am responsible to promote and maintain a criminal justice system that provides equal justice to citizens of all races, colors and creeds as well as to foster an atmosphere of mutual respect where law enforcement and the citizenry can undertake their civic activities in an environment free from fear of one another,” Kollar said. “In these challenging times we are called upon to examine our shared values and challenge ourselves to do better; we must find a way to progress.”

He said the criminal justice system in the United States has disproportionately impacted indigenous people and people of color for decades.

“The numbers don’t lie. We can and must do better,” he added.

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The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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