Alton Sterling's Family Lawyer Reacts to Dallas Shootings: We Want Only 'Peaceful Protests'

Five police officers were killed in Dallas during a Black Lives Matter protest over Alton Sterling and Philando Castile's deaths

Photo: David Grunfeld/ Times-Picayune

The lawyer for the family of Alton Sterling is reiterating their call for peaceful protests in the wake of the Dallas sniper attack Thursday that left five officers dead.

Edmond Jordan tells PEOPLE he offers condolences to “the police officers not only slain but injured as well.” He also says it’s possible the shooting suspects were only using the Black Lives Matter protest that night as an “opportunity.”

“I don’t think it [the shooting] should be tied to the protests at all,” he says.

Seven officers and two civilians were also injured during the protest that night – which police described as peaceful, before the shooting, and which was organized in the wake of the deaths of Sterling and Minnesota man Philando Castile.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said on Friday morning that three suspects in the shooting were in custody and a fourth, identified as Micah Xavier Johnson, had been killed in a shootout with police. Officers cornered Johnson and, after several hours of negotiation, killed him with explosives attached to a bomb robot.

Johnson told police he was upset by recent police shootings and “wanted to kill white people,” authorities said.

Sterling was shot and killed by police early Tuesday in Baton Rogue, Louisiana, while selling CDs out of a convenience store parking lot. The incident was caught on video.

“Here in Baton Rouge we’ve been asking and saying that look, we want you to protest, we don’t have an issue with protestors, but we want it to be peaceful, a peaceful protest,” Jordan tells PEOPLE.

“We think the only way you can respect the name of Alton Sterling and his family, and Mr. Castile in Minnesota as well, is to have peaceful protests.”

Sterling’s death is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the FBI.

Reporting by ADAM CARLSON

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