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A "Person Of Interest" Sought In The Dallas Attack Was Not The Shooter

Police circulated a photo of a man carrying a rifle during the protest, but witnesses said he was not involved in the attack. He was later taken into custody and released.

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After 12 police officers were shot, five of them fatally, during a protest Thursday night in Dallas, officials released a photo of a "person of interest" in the attack.

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The man was shown with a semi-automatic rifle, which authorities believed was similar to the weapons used against police.

But one of the organizers of the protest told CBS DFW the man in the photo, Mark Hughes, is his brother and had no involvement in the shootings. Hughes later turned himself in to authorities.

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People at the protest posted videos showing him in the crowd — away from the parking garages where snipers opened fire on officers.

YOU GUYS THE BLACK MAN THEYRE CLAIMING IS A SUSPECT IS INNOCENT HE WAS MARCHING BEHIND ME THE ENTIRE TIME

HERES ANOTHER VIDEO FROM THE START OF THE PROTEST!! HE WAS WITH US THE WHOLE TIME!!

Your suspect is on video not doing a damn thing @DallasPD

Video captured by the Dallas Morning News showed Hughes standing on the street with other protesters after gunfire erupted.

Video from our photographers appears to show "person of interest" on the street as police respond. :20 mark. https://t.co/SY6j6K99Jf

Moments later, video posted to Facebook showed Hughes handing his gun over to authorities.

Facebook video of DPD's original person of interest, handing over his weapon to authorities Via facebook live video https://t.co/hDmeV6T4sz

Texas law allows rifles to be carried openly in most public places. Critics called out police for accusing a man who was exercising his rights.

.@DallasPD The man you identified as a suspect appears to be a man exercising his open carry rights. CORRECT it.

Others questioned whether the man's race influenced police in naming him a suspect.

@DallasPD @DraftDiamonds what makes him a suspect? Because he's black?

After a few hours in police custody, Hughes was released early Friday.

THIS MAN IS NO LONGER A SUSPECT: Mark Hughes was released from custody. Did not shoot. https://t.co/jmmcm5zuLl

After his release, Hughes told local media he was unaware he had been named a suspect in the shootings until he received a phone call notifying him of the police tweet, and immediately turned himself in to officers.

"I can't believe it," he said. "I can't believe it."

Hughes said he had received death threats from people who assumed he was responsible for the shootings.

"At the end of the day, the system was trying to get me," Hughes said. "An apology? I'm not satisfied with an apology."

Claudia Koerner is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Claudia Koerner at claudia.koerner@buzzfeed.com.

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