By Sara Coello, Jennifer Emily and Charles Scudder / The Dallas Morning News
DALLAS — A man in a mask and combat gear was fatally shot Monday morning in downtown Dallas after he opened fire with an assault weapon outside the Earle Cabell Federal Building. No one else was injured.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno identified the gunman as Brian Isaack Clyde, 22, at a news conference on a street corner near the federal building. Clyde died at the scene and was taken to Baylor University Medical Center, officials said.
Neither DeSarno nor Erin Nealy Cox, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas, gave any indication why Clyde targeted the federal building. They also did not say who shot Clyde after police responded to an active-shooter call.
“We’re looking into motive,” DeSarno said at an afternoon news conference. DeSarno said the FBI had not investigated Clyde before the shooting and he was not on any watch list. Investigators were “aggressively pursing” his social media presence, the agent said.
Dallas Morning News photographer Tom Fox saw Clyde fire outside the building on Jackson Street and took photos as the shooting occurred.
Fox said Clyde fired from the parking lot across the street toward him, another man, a security guard and a woman who was walking a golden retriever.
The windows in a revolving door and two side doors at one entrance were broken. It was unclear whether Clyde or law enforcement personnel had shot the door.
Fox’s photos show authorities surrounding Clyde as he lay in a parking lot where he’d run and fallen after the shooting.
In one photo, a Homeland Security agent wearing blue latex gloves is hovering over Clyde. In others, Clyde is shirtless and law enforcement officers, including the agent, kneel around him. On Clyde’s left arm, he had a red heart tattoo with the silhouette of a cat inside it.
Fox, who was questioned by the FBI, said he had been outside the building when Clyde, wearing a mask, parked on the corner of Jackson and Griffin streets. Clyde ran and then stopped on the sidewalk to pick up a loaded magazine he dropped.
He then began shooting at the courthouse along Jackson Street and cracked the glass of the door. At least two bullets ricocheted off the building, releasing clouds of dust and debris.
DeSarno said Clyde had more than five 30-round magazines. More than 300 employees were inside at the time, where security personnel pushed people to the floor.
The federal building houses federal courts, the U.S. attorney’s office for the Northern District of Texas, a passport office and U.S. Marshals Services. Streets around the courthouse will be closed for several days, Dallas police said.
Nearby El Centro College was also placed on lockdown during the day.
The shooting happened a block from where the July 7, 2016, ambush occurred during which four Dallas police officers and a Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer were fatally shot.
During the ambush, that shooter entered El Centro and fired from a window at the fifth officer who was killed.
Dallas police detonated a suspicious device about 10:40 a.m. that was found in the 2003 Nissan Altima Clyde had driven to the courthouse. The blast was strong enough to shake sapling trees blocks away.
DeSarno would not confirm Monday afternoon whether law enforcement found explosives inside the car.
Police also checked downtown for other suspicious devices, and many buildings downtown were locked down or evacuated.
DeSarno said more than 200 FBI agents and other law enforcement personnel are investigating the shooting. Investigators expect they will have multiple videos from several angles to watch as they determine what happened.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is tracing Clyde’s assault weapon, DeSarno said. Clyde was discharged from the Army in 2017.
The FBI searched Clyde’s first-floor apartment in Fort Worth on Monday. It was not clear what they found.
Joycelyn Mendoza lives in the apartment directly above Clyde’s. She said FBI officials removed a large black box from the complex. The FBI also questioned her about her neighbor and what she knew, she said.
“I told them honestly, it smells like marijuana around there most of the time,” she said. But Mendoza said other people appeared to live in Clyde’s apartment or visit frequently. A woman would sometimes complain when Mendoza’s 2-year-old son would run around upstairs. She said she last saw the woman two weeks ago.
Mendoza said she had seen a man she thought was Clyde for months even though she was told by some he might have only moved in in March.
Ed Modla was working from home Monday morning at SoCo Urban Lofts when he heard at least 10 gunshots. He looked outside and saw the gunman running across Griffin Street.
“As soon as I saw the shooter I got the hell away from the window,” he said.
He took another peek from his third-floor window a few moments later and said he saw officers “zeroing in” on Clyde across the street.
Dallas police evacuated the apartment building about 10 a.m., going door-to-door to make sure everyone got out.
Judicial intern Thompson Du was waiting outside Monday morning after officials kept him from going inside.
He said his friends who were nearby when the shooting occurred told him they heard shots for 45 seconds.
Don Miles heard 10 to 15 shots as he walked up to the Commerce Street entrance for his 9 a.m. appointment.
“I just ran,” Miles said.
Herman Turner, 50, had taken the day off work to run errands at the courthouse. He said he was on his way to get a cashier’s check when he saw the gunman race from the courthouse door near Main and Griffin streets, plant himself in the middle of the road and begin firing his rifle back at the building.
Monday’s shooting wasn’t the first near a North Texas courthouse.
In January 2013, a masked gunman fatally shot Kaufman County prosecutor Mark Hasse in a courthouse parking lot in Kaufman.
Over Easter weekend of that year, the gunman, Eric Williams, later killed Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, in their home.
Williams remains on death row. He killed the district attorney and prosecutor in a revenge plot for prosecuting him for stealing county property. Williams’ wife, Kim, testified against him and is in prison for her role in the murders.
In January 1993, Hai Van Huynh opened fire in the hallway of the George L. Allen Sr. Courts Building in Dallas, fatally shooting his wife, Ly Dang, and wounding a bystander. He later died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
On July 1, 1992, George Lott opened fire inside the Tarrant County Courthouse, killing two lawyers, seriously wounding two appellate judges and grazing another attorney. He died by lethal injection two years later.
Lott had been indicted a few months earlier on aggravated sexual assault charges stemming from allegations that he had sexually abused his son at a motel in Peoria, Ill., according to police and court records. He was scheduled to be tried July 24 on the more serious of the charges, said prosecutor Jim Owens in Peoria, where the son lived.