WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL) — As the Dallas Police Department mourns the murders of five fellow officers in a hate-motivated ambush, they received a spontaneous outpouring of support from community members.
Thousands of people showed up to an interfaith prayer service Friday afternoon held in honor of the fallen officers gunned down by 25-year-old alleged shooter Micah Xavier Johnson.
Johnson said, according to police, that he wanted to kill white people, “especially white officers.”
Determined to overcome the ugly, deadly act of hatred, everyday Americans began showing up in big numbers to show their solidarity with police.
At the prayer service, clergy of diverse ethnicities and faith traditions called for a greater emphasis on unity and love, particularly following a week of racial tensions sparked by the shootings of two black men by officers in Minnesota and Louisiana.
Mourners filled several city blocks during the gathering, serving as a visible marker of public gratitude for officers’ heroic personal sacrifices.
Similar scenes began popping up on Texas streets throughout the day.
In Wimberley, Texas, 7-year-old Chloe gave out free hugs and lemonade to law enforcement.
NBC News’ main anchor Lester Holt witnessed members of the public embracing officers on Dallas streets, extending condolences for the five lives stolen.
Men and women in blue were offered free food and drinks by a Salvation Army food truck.
And the acts of generosity weren’t limited to Dallas. In the Nashville area, a group of children brought officers flowers.
Even 1,500 miles away in Boston, police stations began seeing drop-ins from young children with handmade cards.
In the form of food, drink, hug, art or handshake, the message was clear to police: Thank you.
Follow Chance Seales on Twitter: @ChanceSeales