The main suspect in the killing of five police officers during a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas on July 7 told police his goal was to kill white cops.
The man, who was cornered by police at a community-college parking garage near the site of the shootings, was later killed by a police bomb detonated by a robot after hours of failed negotiations, Dallas police chief David Brown said during a July 8 press conference.
Police have identified the man as Micah Johnson, 25. Johnson, a US Army veteran with no criminal history, was described as a loner, police said in a statement released the afternoon of July 8. He appears to have been acting alone, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said during a press conference Friday afternoon. A search of his home turned up bomb-making materials, ballistic vests, rifles, ammunition, and a journal of combat tactics.
Before he died, Brown said, Johnson told police negotiators what his motives were.
“There suspect said he was upset about Black Lives Matter. He said he was upset about the recent police shootings. The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.”
Brown said the department decided to use the robot because other options would have endangered the lives of officers. Local media had originally reported that the suspect had shot himself.
Johnson had told police that he carried out the shooting alone, and that he was not affiliated with any group. Still, police had originally believed that the attack was carried out by multiple gunmen because various rally participants were wearying protective gear and carrying rifles, which is legal in Texas. Initial police reports said that two snipers perched above the crowd that gathered for the rally opened fire around 8:45pm local time. At least three other people were apprehended in the hours after the shooting and were questioned.
Police later determined that the “shooting came from one building at different levels from one suspect” and that those other suspects had not been involved, according to Rawlings. Texas governor Greg Abbott said police should make sure that no other people were involved in the planning of the attack, the AP reported.
According to Brown, Johnson had told police that there were “bombs all over the place in this garage and in downtown,” but searches of the area had come up empty.
The city held prayer vigil Friday.
“We are heartbroken,” said Brown. “All I know is that this must stop, this divisiveness between our police and our citizens.”