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Dallas Suspect Was an Afghan War Veteran


Micah Johnson, the suspect in the Dallas shooting,appears in this undated Facebook post.

Micah Johnson, the suspect in the Dallas shooting,appears in this undated Facebook post.

The slain suspect in a deadly attack on police officers in Dallas, Texas, was a U.S. Army Reserve veteran who served in Afghanistan, according to U.S. defense officials.

Law enforcement officials identified the suspect as Micah Xavier Johnson of Mesquite, a suburb of Dallas. He was killed following a standoff with police early Friday. Police say bomb-making materials and a weapons cache were found at Johnson's home during a search Friday.

Five police officers were killed and seven other officers wounded in the ambush, which occurred during a protest against police killings of African-American men. Two civilians were also wounded.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Friday the gunman appeared to have acted alone.

WATCH: President Barack Obama comments on incident

Johnson told police during the standoff he was upset at police killings of black men and that he wanted to "kill white people, especially white officers." He also said he was not working with a wider group.

Following hours of negotiation, which took place in a parking garage, Johnson was killed by a bomb attached to a police robot.

No links to nationalist groups

Although officials have not established any links to political groups, media reports suggest Johnson expressed sympathies on social media to several black nationalist organizations, including the New Black Panther Party.

FBI investigators search for evidence in Thursday's sniper attack on police officers in downtown Dallas, Texas, July 9, 2016. (G. Tobias/VOA News)

FBI investigators search for evidence in Thursday's sniper attack on police officers in downtown Dallas, Texas, July 9, 2016. (G. Tobias/VOA News)

Krystal Muhammad, national chair of the New Black Panther Party, told VOA that she didn't know Johnson and had never heard of him before the Dallas attack.

"I don't know where they're getting that information," Muhammad said. "People say a lot of stuff but that doesn't mean it's accurate."

When asked her opinion on the attack, Muhammad said: "My moral judgement is an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth."

"What happened in Dallas, who knows, this could be happening all across America. Because people are fed up. You cannot continue to brutalize human beings and think that some human beings are going to fall for it," she said.

The New Black Panther Party is a black political organization founded in Dallas. It is named after, but not an official successor to the now defunct Black Panther Party, the black nationalist group that frequently clashed with police in the 1970s.

People rally in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday, July 7, 2016 to protest the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

People rally in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday, July 7, 2016 to protest the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

Other than Johnson's social media activity, there was no indication that he had any ties to the Panthers or any other group.

An obscure organization, called Black Political Power Organization, appeared to claim responsibility for the attack on Facebook, but the page was later deleted, and no other information about the group, if it even exists, was readily available.

U.S. law enforcement officials say Johnson did not have a criminal record.

Army record

In an emailed statement, the U.S. Army said Johnson was a carpentry and masonry specialist during his time in the service from March 2009 to April 2015. He was deployed to Afghanistan from November 2013 to July 2014.

Johnson received several low-level military awards during his time in the Army, according to the statement, including the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, which is given to service members who have served in support operations in support of the U.S.' Global War on Terror (GWOT).

Johnson left Afghanistan when a fellow soldier brought sexual harassment charges against him – saying he needed mental health counseling.

VOA's Jeff Seldin contributed to this report.

Law enforcement personnel continue probing for details into Thursday’s ambush of police officers at a demonstration in Dallas, Texas, July 9, 2016. (G. Tobias/VOA News)

Law enforcement personnel continue probing for details into Thursday’s ambush of police officers at a demonstration in Dallas, Texas, July 9, 2016. (G. Tobias/VOA News)

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