Dallas sniper left behind tactical journal, mysterious initials
DALLAS -- Micah Xavier Johnson used blood to write the initials "R.B." on the walls of the downtown Dallas parking garage where he was barricaded last week after he opened fire police and protesters, killing five officers, wounding seven more and...
DALLAS - Micah Xavier Johnson used blood to write the initials “R.B.” on the walls of the downtown Dallas parking garage where he was barricaded last week after he opened fire police and protesters, killing five officers, wounding seven more and injuring two civilians.
Dallas police are investigating the meaning of the two letters, Chief David Brown said on CNN Sunday. The bloody markings indicate that Johnson was wounded when he barricaded himself in the downtown building, where Brown later ordered officers to use a remote-controlled robot armed with explosives to kill him.
Police also found a journal in which the Army veteran detailed tactical movements, including one called “shoot and move,” which is meant to create confusion about the number and location of gunmen, keep a shooter safe from return fire and maximize the amount of damage inflicted on targets, said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.
Johnson is believed to have shot from several different positions Thursday night. A video taken during the shootings shows a man believed to be Johnson shooting at a police officer from behind a pillar, moving closer to shoot from near point-blank range, and then moving away in the opposite direction.
“It looked like we had more than one shooter and they were triangulating on our officers from different positions,” Jenkins said.
Communications during the initial chaos of the shooting, as officers huddled behind cruisers and protesters scrambled for cover, indicated there were multiple shooters. Jenkins said the journal was a key piece of evidence leading police to believe that Johnson was the only shooter.
“When you look at the shoot-and-move tactics, the abilities he had because of the structure of the building, the journal buttresses the theory that the man acted alone,” Jenkins said.
Since the shootings, police have kept several downtown blocks taped off as a crime scene while they determine the locations of victims, where officers were when they returned fire and a timeline of Johnson’s movements.
When Johnson was barricaded in the parking garage, where he wrote the letters in blood, he told police he acted alone, Jenkins said..
Officials on Sunday said they are still investigating whether anyone knew about the man’s plans. Brown said police are still going through Johnson’s laptop and cellphone to determine whether others are connected, and they “haven’t ruled out whether or not others are complicit.”
Brown also expanded on Johnson’s motivations and behavior during the standoff Thursday night. He said the investigation suggests that Johnson had long prepared for the attack but fast-tracked his plan after the protest march against recent police shootings of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota was announced.
The chief said police are “convinced this suspect had other plans and thought that what he was doing was righteous” and was determined to “make us pay for what he sees as law enforcement’s efforts to punish people of color.”
Jenkins, who has not seen the tactical journal but was briefed on its contents, said he isn’t speculating on what it says about Johnson’s mindset or intent. He said its only significance to him was that it ruled out the possibility that there were other shooters.
Jenkins referred to Johnson as evil and said he hopes people focus on the five slain officers rather than the man who ended their lives.
“That’s how we beat this guy,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins, like Brown and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, said people should focus on unifying in the aftermath rather than using it to further entrench.
Jenkins said people who aren’t black should recognize and empathize with the distrust and fear that black Americans feel toward police. He said people who aren’t in law enforcement should be respectful of people who put their lives on the line to protect people.
“If we can see things through each other’s perspectives … this could be an opportunity for us to grow together,” Jenkins said.
Brown called Sunday for a shift in the broader national discussion about policing, particularly in minority communities. The veteran chief acknowledged that not every force or officer “is perfect” and some shouldn’t be cops, but that those bad actors are a fraction of the community.
Painting law enforcement with a broad brush is discouraging, Brown said, adding officers “risk their lives for $40,000 a year - $40,000 a year.”
Asked what he’d say to demonstrators across the country who took to the streets recently in protest of police shootings of black men, Brown said: “We are sworn to protect you and your right to protest, and we will give our lives for it.”
He then compared the tension between law enforcement and demonstrators as a relationship in which “you love that person but that person can’t express or show that love back.”
“There’s no greater love than to give your life for someone, and that’s what we are continuing to be willing to do,” he said, adding; “We just need to hear from protesters, back to us, ‘We appreciate the work you do for us, in our right to protest.’ That should be fairly easy.”