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Dallas sniper shooting: 5 police officers slain, suspect ID’d as Army vet Micah Johnson

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DALLAS — The sniper who killed five Dallas cops and wounded seven more was the sole shooter in a devastating ambush that made Thursday the deadliest day for a police force since 9/11, officials said.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings confirmed the identity of the shooter as Micah X. Johnson, 25, in a Friday evening press conference and said law enforcement officers had determined, after finding a trove of weapons and written combat manifestos in his home, that the shooter acted alone and that there were no more potential suspects on the loose.

“This was mobile shooter that had written manifestos on how to shoot and move, shoot and move, and he did that,” Rawlings said. “He did his damage, but we did damage to him as well.”

“We believe now that the city is safe,” the mayor said. “We can move on to healing.”

The White House announced late Friday that President Obama will cut short a European trip to visit Dallas early next week.

A picture Micah Johnson used as his profile photo on social media. (Facebook)
A picture Micah Johnson used as his profile photo on social media. (Facebook)

Johnson, who served six years in the Army Reserve, died early Friday when police deployed a robot to blow up an explosive device in the parking garage where officers had cornered him and engaged in hours of negotiations that ultimately failed.

Police earlier described the attack as well-planned and Friday evening revealed that law enforcement found rifles and tactical gear in a search of a home the sniper apparently shared with his mother in Mesquite, Texas, 20 miles outside of Dallas.

“During the search of the suspect’s home, detectives found bomb-making materials, ballistic vests, rifles, ammunition and a personal journal of combat tactics,” police said in a statement. “Detectives are in the process of analyzing the information contained in the journal.”

Police investigate a car shortly after the shooting during a protest in downtown Dallas. (Photo: LM Otero/AP)
Police investigate a car shortly after the shooting during a protest in downtown Dallas. (Photo: LM Otero/AP)

Earlier in the day, Dallas Police Chief David Brown described a chilling exchange between Johnson and officers attempting to negotiate his surrender.

“The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers,” Brown said. “The suspect said he was upset about Black Lives Matter. He said he was upset about the recent police shootings.”

Johnson reportedly opened fire Thursday night on what had up to that point been a peaceful demonstration over the police-shooting deaths of black men this week in Minnesota and Louisiana.

The hail of gunfire sent hundreds of demonstrators screaming in terror, and a police manhunt culminated with the suspect cornered by police in a downtown parking garage. After attempted negotiations failed, Brown said police sent in the bomb robot as a last resort to protect more officers from harm.

Robotics expert Peter W. Singer told the Associated Press he believes that this is the first instance of a robot being used to kill a suspect.

Brown said that during the standoff, Johnson told officers he was acting alone, but police initially investigated the possibility of multiple snipers. Several people were detained and questioned before being released.

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A profile of Johnson came into focus Friday as media outlets dug into public records and scoured his social-media profile pages for possible clues as to what may have triggered the deadly attack.

Johnson, according to military records, served in the Army Reserve from March 2009 until April 2015. He was a carpentry and masonry specialist, the records show. He was deployed to Afghanistan in November 2013, which earned him a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, among other awards.

A Facebook photo dated April 30 of this year shows Johnson with Professor Griff of the hip-hop group Public Enemy, known for its politically charged music and critique of police treatment of the African-American community. A 1989 single titled “Fight the Power” is the group’s best-known song. Griff took to Twitter Friday to deny any relationship with the shooter.

“I do not advocate killing cops,” Professor Griff tweeted Friday. “The police and FBI have been watching me and tapping my phone they know who I talk to, I DO NOT KNOW THE SHOOTER,” he wrote in another tweet.

October 2010 photos on Johnson’s mother’s Facebook page show a young man dressed in U.S. Army fatigues posing with a pistol.

The collage below appeared on the Facebook page of Johnson’s sister, Nikki, who posted several times on her page to express disbelief over her brother’s apparent role in the tragedy.

A collage of photos of shooter Micah X. Johnson, from his sister's Facebook page.
A collage of photos of shooter Micah X. Johnson, from his sister’s Facebook page.

“I keep saying its not true … my eyes hurt from crying. Y him???” Nikki wrote in a post. “And why was he downtown smh [shaking my head].”

“We may fuss or fight but at the end of the day i love him!!” she wrote in a 2014 post. “He’s definitely army strong but also a entertaining, loving, understanding, not to mention handsome friend, brother, son and etc!! Idk what I’d do without him. Happy Birthday my homeskillet biscuit!!!! #Still waiting for you to return home!”

Five police officers were killed, and nine other people, including two civilians, were wounded in Thursday night’s attack. How Johnson went about the rampage reveals a lot about him, said former FBI profiler Mary Ellen O’Toole.

“This hunting behavior is a very unique violence called instrumental violence, and it is the preferred violence of individuals who manifest traits of psychopathy,” O’Toole told Yahoo News. “It is extremely difficult to negotiate with a psychopath and Dallas police realized that, and realized this shooter was on a mission and was going to continue to kill no matter what they said to him.”

The five officers killed in Dallas: Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarippa, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, Lorne Ahrens (Courtesy photos)
The five officers killed in Dallas: Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, Lorne Ahrens. (Courtesy photos)

Witnesses posted several videos and images from the attack, in which several rounds of rapid gunfire can be heard as screaming bystanders ran for cover.

“The cops had no idea who was shooting at them,” Jamal Johnson told KTVT-TV in Dallas. “Everyone knew it wasn’t a firework — it was an actual shot.”

The shooting broke out just hours after President Obama — reacting to the shooting deaths of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana this week — posted an emphatic message on Facebook calling upon all Americans to confront persistent racial disparities between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

“To admit we’ve got a serious problem in no way contradicts our respect and appreciation for the vast majority of police officers who put their lives on the line to protect us every single day,” he wrote. “It is to say that, as a nation, we can and must do better to institute the best practices that reduce the appearance or reality of racial bias in law enforcement.”

Downtown residents described the chaos on social media.

“I THINK A SHOOTOUT IS HAPPENING DOWNSTAIRS OH MY GOD,” a Twitter user named Allison posted moments before capturing the sound of rapid gunfire on video.

The fallen officers have been identified as Dallas police Officer Patrick Zamarripa, 32; Officer Michael Krol, 40; Sgt. Michael Smith, 55; Senior Cpl. Lorne Ahrens, 48; and Dallas transit police Officer Brent Thompson, 43. Funeral services for the fallen officers have not been announced.

“In the end, three things remain: faith, hope and love, OK?” Dallas Mayor Rawlings said Friday afternoon. “We need all three today. We must have faith in each other, in our institutions. We must have hope and believe that tomorrow will be better — and it will. And we must love one another, because if we don’t, this cancerous separatism will kill this body.”

This article has been updated as more information became available.

Yahoo News editor Lauren Johnston contributed to this story.

Jason Sickles is a national reporter for Yahoo News. Follow him on Twitter (@jasonsickles).

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