Dallas suspect had talked of ‘shooting up schools and churches’

Jason Sickles

DALLAS — The suspect who attacked Dallas police headquarters overnight with a barrage of bullets and homemade explosives had a history of mental illness and violence, according to court records.

Police said the man identified himself as James Lance Boulware, 35. The suspect’s hours-long rampage included a sensational standoff at police headquarters in downtown Dallas where he had left two pipe bombs, rammed patrol cars with an armored van, and exchanged a hail of gunfire with officers. One of the bombs exploded when a police technician tried to remove it. Boulware eventually fled that scene and led dozens of police cruisers on a chase south of Dallas.

“It was very helter-skelter for a while,” said Dallas Police Chief David Brown.

Patrol cars and buildings were left scarred by bullet holes, but police said no officers were injured.

A police sniper shot and killed Boulware early Saturday as he sat barricaded in his armored van in a restaurant parking lot 10 miles south of downtown Dallas.

Chief Brown said the ordeal began with Boulware calling 911 and rambling to a police dispatcher. The gunman, the chief said, said he had planned to blow up police because they “took his child and accused him of being a terrorist.”

[Related: Dallas police describe shooting scene, chaos]

According to court and police records, Boulware has threatened shooting sprees before.

In April 2013, Boulware was at his mother’s Dallas home when he, “began making comments about North and South Korea, and began talking rudely about religion, Jews and Christians,” according to a police affidavit.

Boulware’s uncle told officers that his nephew continued to become agitated toward his then 65-year-old mother.

When his mother said something about people “going to hell,” Boulware grabbed her by the throat and squeezed with both hands to the point where she could barely “speak because of her raspy voice,” according to the police report. The uncle and mother fought off Boulware for several minutes, while calling 911.

Boulware fled before police arrived and went to his home in Paris, Texas, two hours away in this 2013 incident. In Paris, his brother told police that Boulware arrived and “removed several guns, rifles, body armor and several boxes of ammunition from their home and left in an unknown direction.”

Family members told police they were concerned because Boulware had made recent comments about “shooting up schools and churches.”

Later that evening, Boulware’s mother told a detective that her son “talks to himself quite frequently and appears delusional, but also said that he is not taking any medications.”

Police in Paris eventualy took Boulware into custody, where they also charged him with misdemeanor marijuana possession.

In Dallas County, prosecutors charged him with misdemeanor and felony counts of family violence. Both cases, however, were dismissed nine months after the attack.

“The Defendant has complied with the terms of the conditional dismissal,” an Assistant Dallas County District Attorney wrote in requesting that the case be dropped.

Those terms are not outlined in the motion to dismiss, but other records in the file include handwritten notes about a mental health screening and Boulware’s meeting with a caseworker.

Seventeen years ago, Boulware was arrested in Dallas County for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, according to court records. Details of that incident were not immediately available. After serving two years' probation, a judge found him not guilty and dismissed the charges.

Jim Boulware, the suspect’s father, told the Dallas Morning News that he last saw his son Friday evening, when he visited to mow his father's lawn. Jim Boulware said he was aware of his son’s previous threats, but had not expected the mayhem carried out in Dallas.

“He blames the police for taking his son away from him,” Jim Boulware told the newspaper. “I tried to tell him that the police are just doing their job.”

(This story has been updated since it was originally published.)

Jason Sickles is a reporter for Yahoo News. Follow him on Twitter (@jasonsickles).