Evangelist Franklin Graham has condemned the deadly shootings in Dallas, Texas that killed five police officers and injured dozens, stating that such a tragic event proves that America is in trouble and needs "Divine intervention."
On Thursday, Micah Xavier Johnson, 25, of Mesquite, Texas, opened fire during a peaceful protest in Dallas spurred by videos showing two African-American men shot by police in Louisiana and Minnesota.
Five police officers were killed and seven others were injured in the ambush, making it the deadliest single incident for U.S. law enforcement since September 11, 2001. Two civilians also were injured in the shootings, the Dallas mayor's office said. The shootings occurred only blocks from Dealey Plaza, where John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.
Johnson, who died after a lengthy standoff with police in a parking garage, reportedly told police negotiators that he was upset about recent police shootings, that he wanted to kill white people -- especially white officers -- and that he acted alone.
Graham, the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, decried the massacre and urged believers nationwide to pray for peace and love to overcome violence and hate.
"As we head toward two national political conventions, our nation seems as divided as ever," the 64-year-old pastor wrote in a Facebook post. "America is in trouble--we are in need of Divine intervention like never before. Our next president is not our great hope; Jesus Christ alone is the only hope for a sinful nation and people enraged with evil."
Graham quoted Jeremiah 17:9, which reads, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked."
"Pray for peace and an end to the hate and violence," he wrote. "I pray that God will comfort and wrap His loving arms around the families and communities grieving their loved ones. The Word of God says, 'Put your hope in the LORD both now and forevermore' (Psalm 131:3)."
Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown said that Johnson shot down at the officers from an "elevated position." After officials negotiated with the suspect for several hours overnight and exchanged gunfire with him, Brown said, police "saw no other option but to use our bomb robot ... for it to detonate where the suspect was."
"All I know is this must stop, this divisiveness between our police and our citizens," he said.
President Barack Obama on Friday also condemned the attack and promised that "justice will be done."
"There is no possible justification for these kinds of attacks or any violence against law enforcement," Obama said, speaking from the NATO summit in Poland. "Anyone involved in the senseless murders will be held fully accountable. Justice will be done."
He added, "We still don't know all the facts, we do know there's been a vicious, calculated and despicable act against law enforcement. I believe I speak for every American when I say we are horrified."