Dallas police on Friday identified 25-year-old Micah Xavier Johnson as the lone gunman in the killing of five Dallas police officers. The attack Thursday evening, which occurred during a Black Lives Matter protest, also injured seven other police officers and two civilians.
Johnson was killed after police detonated a bomb strapped to a robot. He had no known criminal history, officials said Friday, but cops found material to make bombs, rifles and ammunition in his home.
Johnson had been a private first class in the Army Reserves, a military spokeswoman confirmed. He enlisted in 2009, was deployed to Afghanistan in November 2013 and returned in July 2014, receiving several awards for his service. He left the military in April 2015.
Police Chief David Brown said Johnson “wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.” Officials said he was upset about the recent deaths of two black men at the hands of law enforcement.
Authorities said that some people identified Johnson as a “loner” during their ongoing investigation. They have not found any evidence that Johnson was linked to any political groups or the Black Lives Matter movement, The New York Times reported.
Israel Cooper, a friend of Johnson’s, told The Associated Press that Johnson “wasn’t really political,” despite being educated. When he heard that his friend was a suspect, he couldn’t believe it, he said: Johnson wasn’t “a violent or rough dude” and had a “good vibe.”
Cooper said the last time he saw Johnson was about a week ago, but that the two often played basketball near Johnson’s home.
The attack on Dallas police officers marked the deadliest day for law enforcement in the United States since Sept. 11, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a group that tracks and memorializes officer deaths.
Following the shooting, according to Brown, officers cornered Johnson in a parking garage at El Centro College in downtown Dallas. Brown said officers negotiated with him for several hours. At one point, Brown said that Johnson told police negotiators that “the end is coming and he’s going to hurt and kill more [law enforcement officers].” Johnson also claimed that there were bombs in the garage and the downtown area.
Talks eventually “broke down” and an “exchange of gunfire” ensued between Johnson and the officers, Brown said, at which point officers felt they had no other choice but to deploy a robot equipped with an explosive device. They detonated it while Johnson was still cornered.
As reported elsewhere, Johnson did receive some training at the Academy of Combative Warrior Arts -- but some outlets mischaracterized that training as related to “shooting on the move.” The academy is a martial arts and self-defense training center that specializes in hand-to-hand combat.
Johnson worked nearby in the suburb of Richardson and stopped by the academy several times about a year and a half ago, the academy’s founder told The Huffington Post.
“All we did was teach him hand-to-hand. That’s it,” said Justin J. Everman. “There was no firearms training that he did with us whatsoever.”
He couldn’t recall Johnson’s demeanor when he trained there, but also didn’t remember seeing anything out of the ordinary. The academy also trains students to attempt to de-escalate before fighting.
“Our goal is to get people home safe at night,” Everman said. “If your wife is coming out of the business at night and going to her car, we’re trying to give her a toolset to defend herself.”
Andy Campbell contributed reporting. This article has been updated to include details on the confrontation from the police department and information about Johnson’s martial arts training.
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