Black Lives Matter protest shooting 'person of interest' cleared

(Twitter / Dallas Police Depart)
(Twitter / Dallas Police Depart)

A man who Dallas police identified as a "person of interest" after police were shot at an anti-violence protest has been cleared of involvement, and is outraged at being referred to as a suspect immediately after the shooting.

The city's police department released an image on Twitter of Mark Hughes, who was pictured carrying what is believed to be an automatic weapon during the rally - but he says the tweet was an example of "the system trying to get me".

As Texas is an open-carry state, Mr Hughes was within his rights to be carrying a firearm at the protest.

He says he was questioned by police for 30 minutes, with interrogators telling him that they had evidence of his offending.

"Police officers were lying, saying that they had video of me shooting, which was a lie, [and] saying that they had witnesses who saw me shooting a gun, which was a lie," he says.

Mr Hughes says he was given no apology upon his release - which he says they need to provide.

"There was persecution on me, unrightly, and I feel that they need to do something about that. Apology? I'm not satisfied with an apology," he said.

Police originally described Mr Hughes as a "suspect" before saying he was a "person of interest" - but he has now been cleared of any involvement in the shootings.

The second man was allegedly involved in a shootout with Dallas SWAT officers. His picture has not been released.

A woman has also been taken into custody after a shootout with SWAT officers inside a garage.

Police are exchanging gunfire with yet another suspect in the garage, who allegedly told them "the end is coming" and claims many bombs are placed around the scene and downtown.

The Dallas Police Department says one of their officers saw someone carrying a camouflaged bag down a nearby street, before throwing it in the back of a Mercedes, which then drove off "at a high rate of speed".

The officers tracked the vehicle down and questioned both its occupants.

Mark Hughes' brother Corey earlier came forward in support of his sibling, saying he was not one of the shooters and that he relinquished his AR-15 to police when shots started ringing out.

"I watched him give his gun to an officer. It was never fired, and they got him all over the national news like he's a suspect, and that's a threat to his life," he said.

"He is not a suspect."

Images and videos posted on Twitter appear to support Mr Hughes' comments.

The Dallas police chief said two snipers shot at police from elevated positions. Five officers are dead and six are injured, with some of those six in surgery and others in a critical condition.

There have been street protests across the US after two black men were shot dead by police in separate incidents the in the past 48 hours.

Video of both shootings was captured on mobile phones and shared widely on social media, sparking outrage.