Disturbing information has been coming to light about Micah Johnson, the Dallas gunman who murdered the five officers on Thursday. Johnson was later killed by an explosive device carried by a robot. Dallas Police Chief David Brown defended the decision to end the standoff in what experts are calling the first use of robot by civilian law enforcement to dispatch a suspect.
During negotiations with police before he was killed, he laughed and sang songs, and wrote the letters “RB” in blood on the walls. Officers are still trying to decipher what the message stood for.
“He lied to us, was playing games and laughing and singing at us, asking how many did he get and he wanted to kill some more,” Brown said. “There was no progress on negotiation and I began to feel on a split second he would charge us and take out many more before we killed him. … I am convinced he had other plans and thought what he was doing was righteous and was going to make us pay. We believe the deaths in Louisiana and Minnesota just sparked his delusion.”
When authorities searched Johnson’s home, they found ammunition, rifles, ballistic vests, numerous metal pipes of different lengths, chemicals which could be used to create pipe bombs, and a journal full of combat tactics. A “written manifesto” linked to Johnson offered instruction on shooting techniques and tactical movements.
Dallas police are now saying Johnson was planning to attack police on a larger scale, but decided to fast-track his plans for an attack, using the protest rally over controversial police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana as a target of opportunity.
“We think he was probably planning something bigger based on what we found at the house with the explosive materials,” said a law-enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation. “He had a bunch of explosive materials. He didn’t have the explosives created.”
“I think that target of opportunity is what drove him as far as timing,” the source continued. “He literally had hundreds and hundreds of rounds in magazines attached to his body so it wasn’t like he was running out of ammunition. He definitely was ready to go and intending to inflict more damage. His plan was to kill as many as he could.”
Due to Johnson’s tactic of “shoot and scoot,” police initially thought there were at least two shooters. Instead, Johnson would fire off rounds and then move to another location to give the appearance of multiple snipers. Officers ultimately cornered him in the second floor of a downtown parking garage. He told police during the standoff that he wanted to kill “white people, especially white officers.” He also claimed to have planted other explosive devices in the area. None have been found so far.
“This was a mobile shooter that had a written manifesto on shooting and moving. He did his damage. We did damage to him as well,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown said officials still haven’t ruled out “whether or not others were complicit.” However, investigators have so far found nothing in Johnson’s social media to indicate anyone else was involved or knew that he was planning an attack.
Brown told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview Sunday morning, “It appears that our search of the suspect’s home in Mesquite leads us to believe, based on evidence of bomb-making materials and a journal, that this suspect had been practicing explosive detonations and that the materials were such that it was large enough to have devastating effects throughout our city and our North Texas area.”
Brown said Johnson “had other plans and thought that what he was doing was righteous and believed that he was going to make law enforcement and target law enforcement, make us pay for what he sees as law enforcement’s efforts to punish people of color. … We believe that the deaths in Minnesota and the deaths in Louisiana just sparked his delusion to fast-track his plans and saw the protest in Dallas as an opportunity to begin wreaking havoc on our officers. … We want to be sure to follow every lead and we don’t want to miss any pieces of evidence that might lead to other things that we don’t know yet.”
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On Saturday it emerged that Johnson had practiced military-style drills in his front garden and trained at a private self-defense school, the Academy of Combative Warrior Arts in the Dallas suburb of Richardson, about two years ago. The techniques he learned included “shooting on the move,” a maneuver in which an attacker fires and changes position before firing again, reports the Telegraph.
USA Today notes Johnson didn’t have a criminal record. He served six years in the U.S. Army Reserve, including an eight-month tour in Afghanistan, according to the U.S. Army. His Facebook account included the names Fahed Hassen and Richard GRIFFIN or Professor Griff, the Dallas Police Department said in the statement. GRIFFIN, who embraces a “radical form of Afrocentrism,” police said, also authored a book titled “A Warrior’s Tapestry.”
However Johnson is being called a “pervert” accused of stalking and sexually harassing a female colleague when he was a private in the Army. While in Afghanistan in November 2013 with the 420th Engineer Brigade, Anna Ma accused him of sexual harassment. “He made unwanted sexual advances towards her. … It was all verbal. He was bothering and harassing her,” said military lawyer Bradford Glendening, who represented Johnson when he returned home in June 2014.
Britain’s Daily Mail reports, “According to legal documents, Anna begged for a ‘protective order against Johnson pertaining to myself, my family home and any other place of residence I may reside at.’ Wells Newsome, who served alongside Johnson in Afghanistan, wrote on Facebook: ‘We all knew he was a pervert cuz [sic] he got caught stealing girls’ panties, but murdering cops is a different story.’
“Johnson waived his right to a military court hearing in the wake of the allegations. Despite the claims, he left the Army in April 2015 with an honorable discharge. Glendening said: ‘Someone really screwed up – but to my client’s benefit.’”
Meanwhile violent protests continue around the country in the aftermath of two fatal shootings of black men by police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota. The gunning down of five police officers and wounding of seven more in Dallas Thursday night has kept the nation’s law enforcement on edge as demonstrations exploded in both scope and violence in what some are calling a “Weekend of Rage.”
In Louisiana, a crowd of 1000 gathered at the convenience store where 37-year-old Alton Sterling was shot and killed last week. Protesters then fanned out to the Baton Rouge Police Department and the state capitol. A prominent Black Lives Matter activist, DeRay Mckesson, was taken into custody, along with 100 other people in Baton Rouge after protesters obstructed a highway. Some demonstrators accused police of “antagonizing” protesters.
CBS News Correspondent David Begnaud tweeted, “Baton Rouge police have seized 7 guns and arrested 30 protesters at an on going protest alongside police headquarters.”
In St. Paul, Minnesota, a demonstration which started peacefully broke down in chaos as protesters attacked cops with rocks, chunks of concrete, rebar, bottles, fireworks and Molotov cocktails. The St. Paul Police Department said 21 officers from multiple agencies were injured as demonstrators took over the I-94 freeway Saturday night.
Tweets from the St. Paul Police Department summarized the disorder:
Law enforcement across the U.S. remained on high alert over the weekend as threats continue to escalate.
On Saturday night, SWAT teams deployed around Dallas Police Department headquarters after an anonymous threat. Officers investigated reports of a suspicious person in a parking garage before giving the all-clear two hours later.
A Dallas police statement said officers took “precautionary” security measures across the city after receiving “an anonymous threat against law enforcement.”
In Valdosta, Georgia, on Friday morning, a 22-year-old recovering drug addict named Stephen Paul Beck, who is Asian, is accused of calling 9-1-1 to lure police to his apartment complex before he opened fire. The officer was stuck twice in his protective vest and once in the abdomen. He returned fire and struck Beck. Both men are hospitalized in stable condition.
On Thursday morning in Tennessee, 37-year-old Lakeem Keon Scott is accused at shooting indiscriminately at passing cars and police on a highway. He told investigators he was angry about police violence against African-Americans. One woman died and three others, including one police officer, were injured in the rampage. All were white.