DALLAS (CBSNewYork/AP) — It’s a different city — but, for President Barack Obama, it’s an all-too-familiar place as he leads a tribute to more lives ended by a man with a gun.
Obama said the fatal shootings of five Dallas police officers would appear to have exposed “the deepest fault line of our democracy” but that Americans must reject such despair.
Obama spoke Tuesday at the memorial service for the five, honoring the work of law enforcement officers, saying they answer a call that at any moment, even in the briefest of interactions, may put their life in harm’s way.
He said fewer people are being mourned at the service because of the brave actions of the officers killed.
He also said that the country asks police “to do too much” and that we do “too little ourselves.”
The officers were killed while guarding a peaceful protest against the police killings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota last week. Obama said Americans can’t dismiss protesters who call attention to racial issues 50 years after the Civil Rights Act as troublemakers.
Americans know that bigotry remains, some are affected by it more than others and that none of us “are entirely innocent,” Obama said.
He asked Americans to find the character to open “our hearts to each other.”
“I see what’s possible, that we are one American family, all deserving equal of treatment,” Obama said. “That’s the America I know.”
Former President George W. Bush, a Dallas resident, also spoke during the service. He said that Americans should “remember their shared commitments for common ideals” as a means of bridging divisions. Bush said that Americans know we have one country and don’t want the unity of grief and fear, but hope.
Bush also said of the five officers: “With their deaths, we have lost so much.”
Dallas Police Chief David Brown said that he often would find himself at a loss for words as a young man trying to get dates, and would use lyrics to express himself and that’s what he did at the service for the families of those who died, reciting lyrics from Stevie Wonder’s song “As” to the families of the slain officers.
Brown said, among other lyrics: “I’ll be loving you until the rainbow burns the stars out of the sky, until the ocean covers every mountain high.”
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) says that in times of darkness, it’s important to remember that the officers who died and were injured in Dallas last week were “not overcome by evil.” The Texas Republican said that the officers overcame evil by running toward gunfire, shielding citizens and sacrificing their own lives.
Cornyn also praised Brown for his simple statement this week that “Dallas loves.”
“We love you, we will never forget you,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said of the fallen officers.
In the packed hall, there were five empty seats at the memorial to honor the officers who were slain, CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported.
Meanwhile on Tuesday morning, two of the doctors who treated some of the fallen and wounded officers paid an emotional visit to a memorial outside police headquarters.
Surgeons Brian Williams and Alexander Eastman told “CBS This Morning’s” Gayle King that they have a message of unity for the divided nation.
“In my mind I was thinking why did this happen?” said Williams.
“We all bleed the same,” said Eastman “There’s no difference. We are all pink on the inside.”
Thousands honored the slain officers during a vigil Monday night outside City Hall in Dallas, where Brown called the officers superheroes.
As the city mourns, the family of the gunman have become central to the investigation.
Brown said investigators are questioning Micah Johnson’s mother, Delphine Johnson, who shared her Dallas-area home with her son, CBS News reported.
“We’re going to follow every lead until it’s exhausted, until I’m satisfied that this was the lone person,” Brown said.
A search of the house revealed bomb-making materials, including metal pipes of different lengths, chemicals, rifles and body armor, according to a CBS News source.
Speaking publicly for the first time to The Blaze, Delphine said her son, who was an Army Reservist, returned from service in Afghanistan last year a changed man.
“The military was not what Micah thought it would be,” his mother, Delphine Johnson said. “He was very disappointed.”
Johnson was discharged from the Army in 2015 following allegations of sexual harassment, CBS News reported.
“It may be that the ideal that he thought of our government of what he thought the military represented — it just didn’t live up to his expectation,” Delphine said.
“I don’t know what to say to anybody to make anything better,” Johnson’s father, James Johnson, said. “I love my son with all my heart. I hate what he did.”
In addition to the five officers killed, police said Johnson also shot and wounded nine officers and two civilians. He was killed by a bomb delivered by remote-controlled robot after negotiations with authorities failed.
Hundreds of rounds of ammunition were attached to Johnson’s body when he carried out the attack, an indication he meant to kill more people, a law enforcement source told CBS News.
A law enforcement official told the Associated Press that Johnson had a Glock 19 Gen4 pistol, a Fraser .25-caliber handgun and a semi-automatic Izhmash Saiga assault-style rifle on him when he was killed and that the guns were purchased legally.
Brown said 11 officers fired weapons at Johnson during the standoff and that two used the explosive device, a decision Brown has defended.
“This wasn’t an ethical dilemma for me,” he said. “I’d do it again.”
The FBI is still investigating the letters “R.B.” that Brown said were written by Johnson in his own blood in two locations before he died.
Three of the slain police officers will be laid to rest this week.
(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)