One of the shooters that opened fire on police officers during a Black Lives Matter protest has been identified as Micah Xavier Johnson. Johnson was an Army veteran that carried out the attack because he was “upset about recent police shootings and Black Lives Matter.” Johnson claimed that he acted alone. He was killed by a police explosive after several hours of failed negotiations.
Five police officers were killed and seven others were injured in the ambush in Dallas Thursday night. At least 10 officers were shot by a sniper. His violent tendencies and unpredictable behavior forced the police to take lethal action. Police Chief David Brown told reporters:
“We saw no other option but to use our bomb robot and place a device on its extension for it to detonate where the suspect was. Other options would have exposed our officers to grave danger. The suspect is deceased as a result of detonating the bomb.”
The Times reported that “authorities believe Johnson belonged to an informal gun club and took copious amounts of target practice,” according to a law enforcement official. Johnson spent much of his free time attending a gym that offered martial arts and weapons classes, according to the Daily Beast.
His attendance at several “self-defense and personal protection” gym classes at the Academy of Combat Warrior Arts in Richardson and Fort Worth, Texas is believed to have had an influence on the style of his attack. The gym provides “reality based training for today’s Urban environment,” according to their official Twitter account.
The company posted the following posts to their official Facebook after the attack.
Police are hesitant to speculate on his motives for the attack. He has no prior record or ties to terrorist organizations. He also claimed that he was not affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement despite speaking to police about the group shortly before his death.
Photos of Johnson interacting with rapper, and former member of the hate group Nation of Islam, Richard Griffin have also surfaced.
The Times reported that Johnson has relatives near where the shooting took place. Neighbors told reporters that Johnson lived alone with his mother and often kept to himself.
Johnson’s Facebook page was littered with “black power” propaganda. His Facebook cover photo is the Pan-African flag and he had a history of posting images like “black power” posters.
Mark Hughes, at attendant of the Black Lives matter protest, was incorrectly identified by police as a “person of interest” at the beginning of the investigation but was released after it was revealed he peacefully turned his legal firearm over to police.
Police have released no evidence that the planners of the protest were involved in the shooting.