The gunman who fatally shot five Dallas law enforcement officers appeared delusional, taunted police during extensive negotiations by singing and “laughing at us,” and wrote cryptic messages on a wall with his own blood before he was killed by a bomb-equipped robot, Dallas Police Chief David Brown said Sunday.
The shooter, Micah Xavier Johnson, was “determined to hurt more officers” and would have done so if the pound of C-4 explosive carried by the robot had not ended the standoff, Brown said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” program.
The additional details of Johnson’s behavior came after a tense night marked by the arrest of a prominent activist in the Black Lives Matter movement and protests in Louisiana and Minnesota that resulted in as many as 200 arrests, according to activists and police.
Police in Baton Rouge late Saturday arrested DeRay McKesson, one of the most visible faces of the Black Lives Matter movement, during a protest over the recent fatal shootings of black men, the latest round of highly publicized and video-recorded deaths at the hands of law enforcement.
In the CNN interview Sunday, Brown said of Johnson, “I think that this killer had some delusions.” He cited “rambling” statements in a journal recovered from his home and said investigators found “some lettering in blood” on a wall in the building where he was killed after apparently being wounded on his way up a stairwell. “He wrote the letters ‘RB,’ ” Brown said. “We’re trying to figure out what those initials mean.”
Brown said Johnson, an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, apparently used his military training to ambush officers who were trying to stay ahead of a spontaneous, peaceful protest march.
“The officers didn’t know where shots were coming from,” Brown said. “They were in a funnel. It ended up being a fatal funnel.”
During negotiations that lasted about two hours, Johnson was “playing games” with a police negotiator after insisting that he would speak only with an African-American. “He was laughing at us. He was singing. He asked how many did he get. ... He wanted to kill some more.”
Brown said Johnson was in a position where officers would have had to expose themselves to “grave danger” to get a shot at him. Therefore, he said, he approved a hastily conceived plan to detonate a bomb near him and would “do it again if presented with the same circumstances.”