Dallas gunman wanted to stage larger assault on police: chief

Updated: 2016-07-11 04:24


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Dallas gunman wanted to stage larger assault on police: chief

Micah Xavier Johnson, a man suspected by Dallas Police in a shooting attack and who was killed during a manhunt, is seen in an undated photo from his Facebook account. [Photo/Agencies]

DALLAS - The US military veteran who fatally shot five Dallas police officers last week had prepared to stage a larger assault on law enforcement, possibly with explosives, the city's police chief said on Sunday, citing evidence found in the killer's home.

Instead, the gunman deftly improvised to shoot officers assigned to a demonstration in the Texas city on Thursday evening, Police Chief David Brown told CNN. It was the deadliest day for US law enforcement since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

"We're convinced that this suspect had other plans," Brown said, adding that the recent deaths of two black men at the hands of police in Minnesota and Louisiana led the Texas shooter to "fast-track" his plans and attack on Thursday night.

The sniper, Micah X. Johnson, 25, a black veteran of the war in Afghanistan, took advantage of a spontaneous march that broke out during Thursday night's protest.

He leapfrogged ahead of demonstrators and stopped when he saw an opportunity to take "high ground" from where he could target police, Brown said.

The police chief said a search of Johnson's home had turned up evidence that the gunman had practiced using explosives, suggesting he wanted to use them against law enforcement targets.

Before police delivered a bomb-equipped robot that killed Johnson, he told them he wanted to "kill white people," especially white police, after a string of fatal police shootings of black men in US cities in recent years.


Brown said police were caught off guard on Thursday when protesters began marching away from the original demonstration site, and were left exposed to the sniper's fire as they scrambled to block off intersections, Brown said.

Johnson's military training also helped him to shoot and rapidly move to other positions, single-handedly "triangulating" his fire with multiple rounds so that police at first believed there were several shooters.

"We don't normally see this kind of running and shooting from criminal suspects," Brown said.

The shooting spree amplified a turbulent week in the United States, as the issues of race, gun violence and use of lethal force by law enforcement again convulsed the nation.

Even as officials and activists have condemned the shootings and mourned the dead officers, more demonstrations against the use of deadly force by police broke out in several US cities on Saturday, leading to hundreds of arrests.

Twenty-one law enforcement officers were injured during demonstrations in St. Paul, Minnesota, where officers were pelted with rocks, bottles, construction material and fireworks, officials said.

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