The gunman who fatally shot five Dallas law enforcement officers appeared delusional, taunted police during extensive negotiations by singing and “laughing at us” and wrote cryptic messages on a wall with his own blood before he was killed by a bomb-equipped robot, Dallas Police Chief David Brown said Sunday.
The shooter, Micah Xavier Johnson, was “determined to hurt more officers” and would have done so if the pound of C-4 explosive carried by the robot had not ended the standoff Thursday, Brown said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
The chief also said that, “based on evidence of bombmaking materials and a journal” found at Johnson’s home in Mesquite, Tex., “we’re convinced that this suspect had other plans,” possibly for a larger attack. He said Johnson “had been practicing explosive detonations” and possessed enough materials “to have devastating effects throughout our city and our North Texas area.”
The recent deaths of two African American men at the hands of police officers in Baton Rouge and Falcon Heights, Minn., may have prompted Johnson “to fast-track his plans” and use a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas last Thursday as an opportunity to attack police, Brown said.
The additional details of Johnson’s behavior came after a tense night marked by the arrest of a prominent activist in the Black Lives Matter movement and protests in Louisiana and Minnesota that resulted in more than 200 arrests, according to activists and police.
In the CNN interview Sunday, Brown said of Johnson, “I think that this killer obviously had some delusion.” He cited “quite a bit of rambling . . . that’s hard to decipher” in the journal recovered from his home and said investigators found “some lettering in blood” on a wall in the building where he was killed after apparently being wounded on his way up a stairwell.
“He wrote the letters ‘RB,’” Brown said. “We’re trying to figure out . . . what those initials mean.”
Brown said Johnson, 25, an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, apparently used his military training to ambush officers who were trying to stay ahead of a spontaneous, peaceful protest march.
“Officers didn’t know where shots were coming from,” Brown said. “They were in a funnel. And it ended up being a fatal funnel.”
According to the FBI, Johnson was armed with an SKS semiautomatic rifle and was wearing ballistic body armor with plates. The SKS is a Soviet-designed military rifle that was first introduced in 1945.
During negotiations that lasted about two hours, Johnson insisted that he would speak only with an African American police negotiator, Brown said. “And he just basically lied to us, playing games, laughing at us, singing, asking how many did he get and that he wanted to kill some more and that there were bombs there.”