A man who opened fire outside the Dallas police headquarters bought his armored van on eBay this month and took a bus to Georgia to pick it up, his father said.
The man, who identified himself as James Boulware, was later shot dead by a sniper early Saturday after a standoff that lasted hours.
He purchased his van from Newnan, Georgia, which is about 35 miles southwest of Atlanta.
“He just got the van last week,” said Dallas-area resident Jim Boulware, who told CNN that police and FBI agents came to his house Sunday to tell him that his son, James, was dead.
“He went and took a bus to Georgia and picked it up.”
The gunman unleashed a barrage of gunfire on Dallas police headquarters and police said he planted explosives outside the building early Saturday.
He then led police on a chase that ended at a restaurant parking lot in a suburb.
‘This suspect meant to kill officers’
Authorities confronted the man outside the Jack in the Box restaurant in the suburb of Hutchins. He made more threats, and police shot him through the windshield of the van.
The suspect had told police that the van contained explosives, prompting them to call a bomb squad to inspect it.
“We believe this suspect meant to kill officers,” Police Chief David Brown said. “We barely survived the intentions of this suspect.”
Blaming police for child custody issues
Before he was shot, the suspect ranted to police by phone, identifying himself as James Boulware and saying that police were responsible for having his child taken from him, Brown said.
Police have said that they couldn’t confirm that was the suspect’s real name.
Jim Boulware said he thought his son would direct his anger to his mother, who was granted custody of James Boulware’s son in April.
James Boulware visited the home a few hours before the shooting, his father said, and police wanted to search the house.
Bullets and pipe bombs
The attack began shortly after midnight. The man fired an assault weapon and then a shotgun, riddling police cars with bullets, as well as windows of the police headquarters.
Dallas Deputy Police Chief Gilberto Garza said the suspect was sometimes on foot as he fired an automatic rifle.
“He was always in or just outside his van,” the deputy chief said.
In addition to unleashing his fusillade of bullets, Brown said, the attacker planted at least one set of pipe bombs in a bag outside.
Police returned fire and gave chase. But Brown said investigators have no reason to believe the suspect had “any nexus to terrorism.”
After the shootout at police headquarters, the suspect called 911 and ranted for about five minutes, accusing police of being responsible for him losing custody of a child, Brown said.
Police called him back, eventually allowing SWAT officers to negotiate.
Officers pursued the van to the parking lot in Hutchins,13 miles southeast of the Dallas police headquarters.
The man opened the door of his van and shot at police again, and grew increasingly hostile and agitated when called on the phone.
To ensure that he did not drive away and threaten anyone else, Brown said, police shot through the engine block of the van, disabling it.
The man became angry and claimed the van contained C-4 plastic explosives, according to Brown. Then he cut off negotiations.
That’s when SWAT snipers shot him through the windshield.
CNN’s Joe Sutton contributed to this report