DALLAS, Texas -- Gunfire erupted in southeast Dallas late Tuesday afternoon as police confronted a suspect. The tense situation escalated when hundreds of people converged on the crime scene.
At least one person was shot and wounded by Dallas police at a location in the 5200 block of Barber Avenue at around 5:15 p.m., according to initial reports.
No officers were wounded. A police source told News 8 the suspect was dead.
That report triggered emotional outbursts from a number of onlookers.
Sandra Harper, who identified herself as the mother of James Harper, said her 31-year-old son was dead, and had been shot in the back.
"My son didn't have no gun, whatever the police said," Mrs. Harper said.
There has been no official statement from police, although one was expected at some point Tuesday evening.
The crowd was urged to move to a nearby church to attend a community meeting to discuss what happened. Dallas City Council member Dwaine Caraway was at the scene to gather facts.
"This is beyond Southeast, this is the Dallas Police Department and the City of Dallas," Caraway said. "The police are moving and doing what they need to do to clear the neighborhood so we can bring peace."
Rev. Kyev P. Tatum of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference issued this statement:
"The fair minded people in South Dallas need to remain calm; peaceful and allow justice to take her course. We will make sure a full investigation is conducted and we are confident that Chief Brown and DA Watkins will seek truth in this case. Violence in the community is not the answer. As Dr. King once said, 'An eye for an eye leaves everybody blind.' The SCLC is praying for the peace in South Dallas."
According to unofficial reports, police had received a report of a man being dragged into a house shortly before 5 p.m. It was not clear whether police had been fired upon.
Dozens of police units -- some in riot gear -- converged on the scene to provide crowd control. The department's SWAT team arrived after 6:30 p.m.
There appeared to be several emotional people and at one point, at least one officer was seen firing what appeared to be pellets into the pavement that left marks on the surface in an effort to disperse the crowd.
Later, several fist fights broke out in the street among onlookers.
A woman was taken away in an ambulance.
News 8 observed at least three top police officials at the scene, including Assistant Chief Charles Cato. Two "companion officers" were requested at the scene to provide assistance to any police personnel who were involved in firing their weapons.
Rev. Earnest Freeney, a pastor in the community, was helping police to try and calm down the crowd. He said he was worried that people from other parts of the city and even from other cities would come to this neighborhood, increasing problems for public officials.
Sources said police were familiar with the residence where the shooting occurred as a place where illegal drugs were sold.