Army Reservist Micah Xavier Johnson shot dead 5 police, had bomb-making materials & more in his home
Army Reservist Micah Xavier Johnson shot dead 5 police, had bomb-making materials & more in his home
The man who shot 12 police officers, killing five, at a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Dallas on Thursday night has been named as Micah Xavier Johnson, a 25-year-old Army reservist with no criminal history or ties to terror groups.
Johnson, from Mesquite, Texas, a 20-minute drive from Dallas, reportedly told law enforcement that he was a veteran, and claimed to have acted alone, countering initial reports that as many as four gunmen were involved in the massacre.
‘The suspect said he was upset about Black Lives Matter. He said he was upset about the recent police shootings of black suspects. He said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers,’ Dallas Police Chief David Brown revealed at a 7.30am press conference.
Cops cornered Johnson at El Centro College at around 11pm on Thursday and attempted to negotiate, but four hours later the talks failed and a robot was brought in to detonate a bomb and kill the suspect. This was after shots had rung out at a previously peaceful protest in downtown Dallas with demonstrators screaming and running for their lives as cops dropped dead one by one.
Johnson wore body armor, which would suggest why a cop was not able to kill him when he confronted him in a one-on-one situation which was caught on camera. It resulted in the cop being executed. He also carried an AR-15 assault rifle and a handgun, and several rounds of ammunition.
During a search of his home, detectives found bomb making materials, ballistic vests, rifles, ammunition and a personal journal of combat tactics.
A black SUV found at the scene of the shootings was listed as registered to Delphene Johnson, also of Mesquite, who is understood to be his mother. Police gathered at the address of Ms Johnson on Friday and were seen searching the property.
The casualties include Dallas police officers Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol, Lorne Ahrens and Michael J. Smith, as well as DART Officer Brent Thompson.
Two other suspects were taken into custody after fleeing the scene in a black Mercedes. An officer saw one of the pair hurriedly putting a camouflage bag in the back of the car before driving off ‘at a high rate of speed’. A female, who was in the same area as Johnson, was also taken custody, however Chief Brown said: ‘We still don’t have complete comfort that we have all the suspects.’
Johnson reportedly fired from an ‘elevated position’, picking off officers ‘ambush style,’ Chief Brown said, suggesting that the shooter had some tactical background. ‘Some officers were shot in the back,’ he added.
Army officials said Johnson was a soldier in the reserves and had served a tour of duty in Afghanistan. His military occupational specialty was carpentry and masonry. His service dates, as provided by the Army, were March 2009 to April 2015. The Army says Johnson deployed to Afghanistan in November 2013 and returned in July 2014. During his service, he was awarded the Army Achievement Medal.
Pictures on Facebook suggest that Johnson’s father, James, was also in the military. While he professed a hatred for white people in his last words to a hostage negotiator, it appears his step-mother was white. Donna Ferrier Johnson, a teacher for Dallas schools, proudly shared pictures of her step-son in uniform to her page before the shooting.
Nevertheless, Johnson’s activity online suggest he became interested with black militant groups. On Facebook, he identified himself as a black nationalist, and his profile picture shows him wearing a dashiki and holding a clenched first in the air like a Black Panther.
He also liked pages for several pages related to the Nation of Islam, the Black Riders Liberation Party, the New Black Panther Party and the African American Defense League.
Johnson also used to attend a gym called Academy of Combat Warrior Acts, which teaches weapons classes in addition to the traditional martial arts selection, according to the Daily Beast.
Gym CEO Justin Everman spoke out to the Daily Beast, saying many of the gym’s members are police officers and ‘we have completely no affiliation with [Johnson] whatsoever.’
A man who served in the same platoon as Johnson in Afghanistan said he changed after he returned from the war zone.
‘When he came back from Afghanistan, he got in touch with some bad folks and went all Black Panther,’ the man, who asked to remain anonymous, told Fox News.
‘He did have some anger issues but never said he would hurt anyone. His shots were terrible.
‘He was absolutely normal, a really good friend. We lost touch once he deployed to Afghanistan and I stayed back. I don’t really know how or why it got to the point it did.’
However, other sources described Johnson as ‘a loner’, police said.
A woman who lived on the same street in Mesquite, Texas, said that Johnson told them that he had ‘lots of guns’ and that she thought he had served overseas.
When his rifles were stolen eight months ago he became ‘very upset’, she said.
The woman, who declined to give her name, said: ‘About eight months ago he knocked on all the doors on the street and said that his rifles had been stolen from his home.
‘He wanted to know if anyone had seen the thieves going down the alley at the back of his house. He thought it happened about 3am.
‘I know he had lots of guns because that’s what he told us. He seemed like a nice guy to us, he was polite. He was very upset about his guns.’
Neighbors said that Johnson lives in two-story home on a quiet suburban street, which is opposite a large field, with his mother and had been there for years.
Officers from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms took evidence boxes out of the house and a police car blocked off the street. As well as the rifles and ammunition, research of his Facebook page has found that he followed Richard Griffin, aka Professor Griff from the hip-hop group Public Enemy, who embraces a radical form of Afrocentrism and has written a book called A Warriors Tapestry.
Unlike their murdering cop-hating son, the father and stepmother of Johnson were revealed to be police supporters today.
James and Donna Johnson are enthusiastic participants in a neighborhood watch scheme which works alongside police officers.
The Johnsons, who live in a detatched house in a leafy Dallas suburb, are well liked in the residential area where more than 80 per cent of people own their homes.
Their next door neighbor Samantha Villa said was shocked to learn the Johnson’s were family to the cop killer.
‘They seem nice people and always say “hi”. I don’t know much about them as I’ve only lived here for about a month.
‘But on July 4 I spoke with them to tell them there would be a few extra cars on the street with family and friends visiting and they said it would not be a problem.’
A woman who appeared to be Johnson’s mother emerged at one point and asked police to keep reporters from knocking on her door.
Neighbor Jowanda Alexander, 36, a mother of four, said that Johnson was ‘not an angry guy’.
She said that six months back he knocked on her door because one of their daughters and her friends were playing around with his mailbox on her way home from school.
She said: ‘He was very friendly and if anything he seemed to be nervous. He just wanted to know what was going on. He didn’t want any trouble – he came in peace’
A friend of Johnson’s also spoke out to say that the Johnson he knew ‘wasn’t really political’.
Israel Cooper says Johnson ‘wasn’t one of those, ‘ah man, white cops, blacks cops, you know’ kind of people.
Cooper says he played basketball with Johnson dozens of times near Johnson’s suburban Dallas house. He says the last time he saw Johnson was a about week ago and that Johnson was ‘cool’ with a ‘good vibe.’
Cooper says when he heard Johnson was a suspect he couldn’t believe it because Johnson wasn’t ‘a violent or rough dude.’
Johnson wasn’t the only person in his family to have developed a distrust for law enforcement. In the days leading up to the shooting, his sister Nicole wrote several posts about her frustration at the tense relationship between police and the African-American community.
She said police officers needed ‘to get a taste of the life we now fear’.
Writing on Facebook, she said: ‘Tired of y’all tryin to be on these cops side making it okay based off irrelevant info when our own get killed over unjust s***.’
‘Man on life itself I’m beginning to trust law less n less. Come a yr from now everybody will need a gun for protection. Why is it the black get the harsh treatment like damn. Makes me so mad. When he decide we had enough n fight back smhh…’ she wrote on July 6, responding to the death of Alton Sterling.
After the shooting however, she expressed utter shock at her brother’s actions.
‘I keep saying it’s not true,’ she wrote on Facebook on Friday. ‘My eyes hurt from crying. Y him??? And why was he downtown.’
‘The news will say what they think but those that knew him know this wasn’t like him,’ Johnson added in another post. ‘This is the biggest loss we’ve had.’
The Black Lives Matter group released a statement distancing themselves from the horrific attack.
‘In the last few days, this country witnessed the recorded murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of police, the latest victims in this country’s failed policing system. As we have done for decades, we marched and protested to highlight the urgent need to transform policing in America, to call for justice, transparency and accountability, and to demand that Black Lives Matter.
‘In Dallas, many gathered to do the same, joining in a day of action with friends, family and co-workers.
‘Their efforts were cut short when a lone gunman targeted and attacked  police officers, killing five.
‘This is a tragedy–both for those who have been impacted by yesterday’s attack and for our democracy. There are some who would use these events to stifle a movement for change and quicken the demise of a vibrant discourse on the human rights of Black Americans. We should reject all of this.
‘Black activists have raised the call for an end to violence, not an escalation of it.
‘Yesterday’s attack was the result of the actions of a lone gunman.
‘To assign the actions of one person to an entire movement is dangerous and irresponsible. We continue our efforts to bring about a better world for all of us.’
Investigators leave the home of Micah Xavier Johnson in the Dallas suburb of Mesquite, Texas, Friday, July 8, 2016; detectives found bomb-making materials, ammunition, rifles and ballistics vests at the home
Before the dead suspect was taken out with a police bomb, he also warned that there were other IEDs hidden around the city. Cops say they have conducted a thorough search however, and believe that the city is safe.
Chief Brown said they used a police robot to drop off and detonate the bomb near the suspect so as to prevent further police casualties.
‘We saw no other option than to use our bomb robot and place a device on its extension to detonate where the suspect was,’ Brown said, adding that, ‘other options would have exposed our officers to grave danger.’
Previous reports alleged that Johnson had actually killed himself, but Brown said that these were not true.
A gruesome video shows a heroic policeman taking on a suspect, but being gunned down and shot again execution-style from point-blank range.
In an emotional statement before going into detail about the shooting, Brown said that the mass shooting had left his department ‘hurting’.
‘Our profession is hurting. Dallas Officers are hurting. We are heartbroken. There are no works to describe the atrocity that occurred to our city. All I know is that this must stop. This divisiveness between our police and our city,’ Brown said.
He also drew attention to the many witness videos that showed brave police officers running towards the shooting – thinking not of themselves but of the safety of the crowds at large.
The police chief went on to say that he and many of his officers don’t feel ‘much support’ from the public on ‘most days’.
‘Let’s not make today most days. Please, we need your support to be able to protect you from men like these who carried out this tragic tragic event. Pray for these families,’ he said.
In a statement from Warsaw, Poland where he is at a NATO summit, President Obama expressed his ‘deepest condolences to the American people’, and warned that he still didn’t know all of the facts of the massacre.
‘They were on duty doing their jobs, keeping people safe during peaceful protests… they were targeted and nearly a dozen officers were shot,’ President Obama said.
‘I believe I speak for every American, when I say we are horrified and stand united with the police department in Dallas.’
President Obama confirmed the FBI is working with Dallas police and said ‘anyone involved will be made accountable… justice will be done.’
He urged the nation to remember to ‘express our profound gratitude for our men and women in blue’.
He also ordered flags lowered to half-staff to honor the 12 officers and two civilians shot in the attack.
Obama’s proclamation Friday applies to American flags flown at the White House and on all public buildings and grounds, military installations and Navy vessels. It extends through sunset Tuesday, July 12.
Gov. Greg Abbott ordered Texas flags to be flown at half-staff statewide during the same time period to honor the victims. Five of the officers were killed. The other seven and the two civilians were wounded.
The shootings have sparked more racial tension in America and mark the deadliest day for U.S. law enforcement since the 9/11 attacks, when 72 officers died in the line of duty. Americans in major cities nationwide took to the streets on Thursday night to demand answers over the killings of Castile and Sterling.
The DART officer killed, Brent Thompson, joined the department in 2009 and is the first officer to be killed in the line of duty since 1989 when DART (the Dallas public transportation network) formed a police department.
Morgan Lyons, a spokesman for DART, said: ‘As you can imagine, our hearts are broken.’
‘This is something that touches every part of our organization. We have received countless expressions of support and sympathy from around the world through the evening. We are grateful for every message. Thank you.’