The shooter who killed five police officers in last week’s deadly attack in downtown Dallas scrawled the letters “R.B.” in his own blood on the walls of the parking garage before he was killed, Dallas Police Chief David Brown said Sunday.
“He wrote some lettering in blood on the walls, which leads us to believe he was wounded on the way up the stairwell,” Brown said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “And where we detonated the device to end the standoff, there was more lettering written in his own blood.”
It’s unclear what the blood-stained letters refer to.
“We are trying to decipher that,” Brown said. “We’re trying to figure out, through looking at things in his home, what those initials mean. But we haven’t determined that yet.”
Micah Johnson, a 25-year-old Army veteran, had “practiced military-style drills in his yard and trained at a private self-defense school that teaches special tactics,” according to the Associated Press. Among them: “shooting on the move,” a “maneuver in which an attacker fires and changes position before firing again.” He had also received instruction at the Academy of Combative Warrior Arts in nearby Richardson, Texas, about two years ago, the AP said.
Authorities discovered bomb-making materials and a journal during a search of Johnson’s home conducted following Thursday’s killings, and Brown said it appears that he had been planning a larger attack.
“The suspect had been practicing explosive detonations,” Brown said. “The materials were such that it was large enough to have devastating effects throughout our city and our North Texas area. We’re convinced that this suspect had other plans and thought that what he was doing was righteous and believed that he was going to make law enforcement and target law enforcement, make us pay for what he sees as law enforcement’s efforts to punish people of color.”
Last week’s shooting deaths of black men by police in Louisiana and Minnesota “sparked his delusion to fast-track his plans,” Brown said, adding that Johnson saw Thursday’s protest in Dallas against those killings as “an opportunity to begin wreaking havoc on our officers.”
Johnson, a 25-year-old Army veteran, was killed by police using a bomb-mounted robot after a two-hour standoff — a decision Brown vigorously defended.
“I was in radio contact with the SWAT team negotiating once we had him pinned down in the second floor of the El Centro College building,” Brown explained. “And they began conveying to me that this person was in a gunfight with them, and he was in a position such that they could not see him.”
Negotiations to end the standoff peacefully failed, Brown said.
“We had negotiated with him for about two hours, and he just basically lied to us, playing games, laughing at us, singing, asking how many did he get and that he wanted to kill some more,” the chief said. “so that there was no progress on the negotiation. And I began to feel that it was only at a split-second, he would charge us and take out many more before we would kill him.”
The SWAT team presented Brown with a plan to use the robot to detonate the bomb within a few feet of the suspect.
“I approved it,” he said, “and would do it again if presented with the same circumstances.”
President Obama condemned the attacks on the officers.
“Whenever those of us who are concerned about fairness in the criminal justice system attack police officers, you are doing a disservice to the cause,” Obama said while speaking to reporters in Madrid on Sunday. “First of all, any violence directed at police officers is a reprehensible crime and needs to be prosecuted. But even rhetorically, if we paint police in broad brush without recognizing that the vast majority of police officers are doing a really good job and are trying to protect people and do so fairly … , if the rhetoric does not recognize that, then we’re going to lose allies in the reform cause.”
The president praised the Dallas Police Department as a leader in the reform movement.
“That’s part of why it’s so tragic that those officers were targeted in Dallas,” Obama said, “a place that because of its transparency and training and openness and engagement has drastically brought down the number of police shootings.”
Obama will travel to Dallas on Tuesday to deliver remarks at an interfaith memorial service, the White House said. Vice President Biden and former President George W. Bush will also attend, and Bush will deliver brief remarks.
Obama will also meet privately with the families of victims of Thursday’s shootings.