Dallas police—and the rest of the world—are still struggling to understand how a 25-year-old Dallas area man turned into a sniper intent on killing cops.
The man, the chief suspect in the deadly attack during a Black Lives Matter march in Dallas on July 7, was clear with police about his motivations: “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,” said Dallas police chief David Brown.
He has been identified as Micah Johnson, 25, of Mesquite, Texas, a Dallas suburb. Here’s what we know so far about his life before the shooting:
- He joined the US Army right out of high school as a reservist in 2009. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2013, where he served as a mason and carpenter. During his stint there, he was accused by a female solider of sexual harassment, according to the lawyer who represented him. His accuser recommended that he receive “mental help” and asked for a protective order against him.
- He apparently sympathized with Black Power groups. On his Facebook page, which has been taken down, he “liked” several of them, including the New Black Panther Party, considered to be an extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
- He had collected a variety of weapons and defense gear, including “bomb-making materials, ballistic vests, rifles, ammunition and a personal journal of combat tactics” that were turned up by a police search. Neighbors told local newspaper Dallas Morning News that they had watched him perform what looked like military training exercises in his yard.
- People who knew him told the media his experience in the military changed him, making him withdrawn and more interested in guns. He “didn’t want to talk to people anymore, didn’t believe in God anymore,” Myrtle Booker, who knew Johnson’s mother through church told the Morning News. ”I don’t know what he saw or what happened over there,” TJ Holley, one of his childhood friends told CNN, “but I think the military is one of the reasons why he did what he did and why he acted out the way he did.”
- He worked at Touch of Kindness, a social service agency that serves children and adults with intellectual disabilities.