Santa Ynez Valley resident Barbara Meeks left this morning from Dallas, Texas and happened to be minutes away from where the shootings took place last night in the heart of the city.

“We were driving back from visiting our grandchildren in Oklahoma and were flying out of Dallas this morning. We ended up last night at a Texas barbecue restaurant and stayed longer because they were having a wonderful jazz concert there. No one knew what was going on down the street,” Meeks said.

Five police officers – four from the city’s main department and one from Dallas Area Rapid Transit were killed by a sniper late Thursday as they guarded anti-police brutality marches at a march. By Friday afternoon, three of those killed had been identified as Brent Thompson, Michael Krol, and Patrick Zamarripa.

The gunman was identified as Micah Xavier Johnson, 25, who was blown up by a police robot while holed up on the second level of a parking garage early Friday morning after negotiations with police broke down, according to local media reports.

The rampage was the deadliest day in American law enforcement since 9/11 and President Obama declared it a “vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement.”

“We’re hurting. Our profession is hurting. Dallas officers are hurting. We are heartbroken. There are no words to describe the atrocity that occurred to our city. All I know is this must stop, this divisiveness betweeen our police and our citizens,” said Dallas Police Chief David Brown in a Friday morning news conference.

The protest was one of several around the country, prompted by police shootings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota.

“Today at the airport it was if the workers were extra nice, friendly. Everyone with amazing attitudes- from hotel, drivers, stewards. rental car, Starbucks, extra nice. I am feeling sad that a few people can ruin it for so many. We shall overcome this hated,” Meeks said.

Meeks said she was happy to be home in the valley safe and sound.