On Thursday, July 7, 2016, a lone gunman opened fired on police in Dallas, Texas, during a peaceful protest for Black Lives Matter (BLM), turning it deadly for five officers and leaving seven others injured. There were also two civilians shot during the deadly rampage. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton canceled scheduled events in the wake of the tragedy. Micah Xavier Johnson, 25, was identified as the lone gunman and was killed by police after negotiations failed.
The Dallas Chief of Police, David Brown, reported on Sunday, July 10 that the attack was very well thought out. Johnson was antagonizing the officers, who were trying to negotiate with him, by laughing and singing hurtful remarks at them. Before he was killed, he wrote enigmatic messages on a wall with his own blood from an injury he sustained in the attack. Johnson made it known he wanted to kill additional white police officers and he seemed very deranged. Brown said, “He was determined to hurt more officers.” A robot carrying one pound of C4 was remotely detonated and killed the suspect.
Johnson, who is reportedly from Mesquite, Texas, had “bomb-making materials” in his home, according to law enforcement officials. Authorities also found a journal which outlined plans to carry out a larger attack. The suspect had been practicing detonating explosives and had in his possession enough to do disastrous damage to the city of Dallas, as well as quite possibly North Texas. Last week, two African-American men were killed by police officers in Falcon Heights and Baton Rough, Minn. Chief Brown believes that was the lone gunman’s motivation to speed up his plan to kill white police officials, and turn the peaceful BLM protest deadly in Dallas. The arrest of an outstanding activist of the BLM and the protests in Louisiana and Minn. that led to hundreds more being arrested could have contributed to the murderous rampage. The suspect’s journal was full of the ramblings of a very confused person, and police are still trying to interpret it. Authorities also have no idea what the killer meant when he wrote the letters RB in his blood on the wall.
It is believed that Johnson, who was a veteran of the U.S. military and served in Afghanistan, used his training to ambush the Dallas officials at the peaceful BLM protest, and he acted alone. The FBI reported that Johnson had been armed with a Russian military rifle which was first made known in 1945 and is called an SKS. The police chief reported that officers would have been in “grave danger,” if they attempted to shoot him, so he made the decision to allow a plan to robot detonate a bomb. Brown also said he would not hesitate to repeat that decision again in the same situation.
FBI Director James B. Coney said the murderer also possessed a handgun, and he kept firing at police during their first attempt to detonate the robot bomb. The second attempt, however, was successful in killing Johnson.
The worst thing Brown ever had to do on the force was comfort the family member of a fallen officer. Now, he had to do just that not once but five times in one day. He remained calm and in control when he gave the order to kill Johnson with a remote-controlled robot bomb. His job prepared him for each decision he had to make on Thursday night, but it did not make it any easier for him to relatives of the murdered officers in the face to console them. Brown is a brave police chief in Dallas, who acted professionally, and did everything possible to protect the public and fellow officers when a lone gunman turned a peaceful protest deadly.
By Katherine Miller
Edited by Leigh Haugh
The Washington Post: Shooter seemed delusional, scrawled cryptic messages in blood
The Dallas Morning News: Police Chief David Brown’s whole life prepared him for the shootings.
CNN: Police used a robot to kill — the key questions
Featured Image Courtesy of Mesquite Police Dodge’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Top Image Courtesy of Todd Carr’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of Dallas County District Attorney’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License