Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday he is mourning the deaths of five police officers and the wounding of seven others in Dallas, in attacks blamed on a gunman during a protest.
"The past 24 hours in Dallas has been a veritable tale of two cities. On the one hand it has been the tale of heroism of police officers. At the same time, it has been the tale of cowardice by an assassin. We are so proud, even in our mourning today, of the men and women who wear the uniform … for their heroism in the face of danger," Abbott said.
Speaking of law enforcement officers, Abbott said, "You have the respect of a grateful state, and you have a governor who has your back."
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"As it concerns the cowardice," the governor continued, "it seems as though the sole suspect, now, has received his justice. What will be important is that there were no other potential co-conspirators with this assailant. If there is, they will be sought, they will be found, and they will receive the justice they deserve."
"The primary message is one word, and that is unity. We need to understand that Texas has its own brand of principles that have helped elevate this state to true exceptionalism. Texas will need to unite behind those very principles," Abbott said.
Earlier Friday, Abbott issued an open letter to The Dallas Morning News, called "A Time To Come Together." The text is below:
"Our hearts are heavy.
Last night in Dallas, five law enforcement officers were killed; seven officers and two civilians were wounded.
The coordinated ambush and deliberate, brutal executions were acts of cowardice -- hiding behind innocents to target and savagely slaughter peace officers dedicated to preserving life and our freedoms.
The full force of the law must ensure all responsible are brought to justice and our communities are kept secure.
Justice will be served, but justice is small solace for the families left behind.
We mourn for the families of the fallen, for the law enforcement community and for our nation.
Respect for our law enforcement officers must be restored in our nation.
The badge every officer wears over his or her heart is a reminder of a sacred trust, a commitment, a contract with each of us.
For law enforcement officers to stand in front of us and all that threatens, we must stand behind them.
Every life matters.
With each innocent life lost, we lose more of our humanity.
It is time for us to unite as Texans, as Americans, to say no more.
No more will we tolerate disrespect for those who serve.
No more will we allow the evil of hate merchants to tear us apart.
Though anguish and sorrow may darken the days ahead, we will not be overcome by evil -- we will overcome evil with good.
Texas is an exceptional state with exceptional people. We've faced tough challenges in the past, but we have come together to overcome those challenges.
In the coming days, there will be those who foment distrust and fan the flames of dissension.
To come together -- that would be the greatest rebuke to those who seek to tear us apart.
There is far more that binds us together. We see that great strength in times of tragedy, in times of great need. Whether fire or flood or the acts of depraved individuals, Texans are the first to open their hearts, their homes, their wallets to offer charity and love.
I ask for your prayers -- for our law enforcement officers, for the city of Dallas, for our state and for our nation.
May God comfort those who've lost a family member.
And may God heal the hurt in our communities.
I have faith in the goodness of Texas, of America. For in the end, evil always fails."