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Dallas suspect 'changed after military service'

Published 11/07/2016

Shootings: Micah Johnson
Shootings: Micah Johnson
A policeman visits a makeshift memorial at the Dallas police headquarters (AP)

Military service changed suspected Dallas gunman Micah Johnson from an extrovert into a hermit, his parents have said.

Johnson's mother, Delphine Johnson, said in an interview that her son had wanted to be a police officer as a child, and that his six years in the Army Reserve, including a tour in Afghanistan, were "not what Micah thought it would be ... what he thought the military represented, it just didn't live up to his expectations".

His father, James Johnson, said also told The Blaze website: "I don't know what to say to anybody to make anything better. I didn't see it coming."

Micah Johnson, a black 25-year-old, is suspected of fatally shooting five officers in Thursday's attack. He also wounded at least nine other officers and two civilians before he was killed.

The incident happened while hundreds of people were gathered in Dallas to protest against recent fatal police shootings.

Authorities have said Johnson had plans for a larger assault, possessed enough explosive material to inflict far greater harm and kept a journal of combat tactics.

"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 target law enforcement - make us pay for what he sees as law enforcement's efforts to punish people of colour," Dallas Police Chief David Brown told CNN.

The fact that Johnson had material for explosives and talked of using homemade bombs during a stand-off with police before he was killed indicated he could have inflicted more damage with more time, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said.

He added: "If this had not been a crime of opportunity where the protest was quickly organized in response to events in the same week ... he could have caused a lot more harm than he did."

Mr Brown also revealed details about Johnson's negotiations with police, saying he laughed at authorities, sang and at one point asking how many officers he had shot.

A Dallas Area Rapid Transit police officer receives comfort at the Baylor University Hospital emergency room entrance Thursday, July 7, 2016, in Dallas (Ting Shen/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
A Dallas Area Rapid Transit police officer receives comfort at the Baylor University Hospital emergency room entrance Thursday, July 7, 2016, in Dallas (Ting Shen/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
Dallas Police respond after shots were fired during a protest of fatal police shootings earlier this week in Louisiana and Minnesota, Thursday, July 7, 2016, in Dallas. (Maria R. Olivas/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
Dallas Police respond after shots were fired at a Black Lives Matter rally in downtown Dallas on Thursday, July 7, 2016. Dallas protestors rallied in the aftermath of the killing of Alton Sterling by police officers in Baton Rouge, La. and Philando Castile, who was killed by police less than 48 hours later in Minnesota. (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News)
Dallas police respond after shots were fired during a protest over recent fatal shootings by police in Louisiana and Minnesota, Thursday, July 7, 2016, in Dallas. Snipers opened fire on police officers during protests; several officers were killed, police said. (Maria R. Olivas/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
People rally in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday, July 7, 2016 to protest the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Black motorist Philando Castile, 32, a school cafeteria worker, was shot at close range by a Minnesota cop and seen bleeding to death in a graphic video shot by his girlfriend that went viral Thursday, the second fatal police shooting to rock America in as many days. / AFP PHOTO / Laura BuckmanLAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images
People rally in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday, July 7, 2016 to protest the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Black motorist Philando Castile, 32, a school cafeteria worker, was shot at close range by a Minnesota cop and seen bleeding to death in a graphic video shot by his girlfriend that went viral Thursday, the second fatal police shooting to rock America in as many days. / AFP PHOTO / Laura BuckmanLAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images
A woman takes pictures of the rally in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday, July 7, 2016 to protest the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Black motorist Philando Castile, 32, a school cafeteria worker, was shot at close range by a Minnesota cop and seen bleeding to death in a graphic video shot by his girlfriend that went viral Thursday, the second fatal police shooting to rock America in as many days. / AFP PHOTO / Laura BuckmanLAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images
Dallas police detain a driver after several police officers were shot in downtown Dallas, Thursday, July 7, 2016. Snipers apparently shot police officers during protests and some of the officers are dead, the city's police chief said in a statement. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Dallas Police shield bystanders after shots were fired Thursday, July 7, 2016, during a protest over two recent fatal police shootings of black men. (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
Police officers stand guard at a baracade following the sniper shooting in Dallas on July 7, 2016. A fourth police officer was killed and two suspected snipers were in custody after a protest late Thursday against police brutality in Dallas, authorities said. One suspect had turned himself in and another who was in a shootout with SWAT officers was also in custody, the Dallas Police Department tweeted. / AFP PHOTO / Laura BuckmanLAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images
People rally in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday, July 7, 2016 to protest the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Black motorist Philando Castile, 32, a school cafeteria worker, was shot at close range by a Minnesota cop and seen bleeding to death in a graphic video shot by his girlfriend that went viral Thursday, the second fatal police shooting to rock America in as many days. / AFP PHOTO / Laura BuckmanLAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images
A man holds a bat reading "Black Power" during a protest in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday, July 7, 2016 to protest the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Black motorist Philando Castile, 32, a school cafeteria worker, was shot at close range by a Minnesota cop and seen bleeding to death in a graphic video shot by his girlfriend that went viral Thursday, the second fatal police shooting to rock America in as many days. / AFP PHOTO / Laura BuckmanLAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images
Protesters march during a Black Live Matter rally in downtown Dallas on Thursday, July 7, 2016. Multiple media outlets report that shots were fired later Thursday during the protest over two recent fatal police shootings of black men. (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
A Police officer stands guard at a baracade following the sniper shooting in Dallas on July 7, 2016. A fourth police officer was killed and two suspected snipers were in custody after a protest late Thursday against police brutality in Dallas, authorities said. One suspect had turned himself in and another who was in a shootout with SWAT officers was also in custody, the Dallas Police Department tweeted. / AFP PHOTO / Laura BuckmanLAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images
Police cars sit on Main Street in Dallas following the sniper shooting during a protest on July 7, 2016. A fourth police officer was killed and two suspected snipers were in custody after a protest late Thursday against police brutality in Dallas, authorities said. One suspect had turned himself in and another who was in a shootout with SWAT officers was also in custody, the Dallas Police Department tweeted. / AFP PHOTO / Laura BuckmanLAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images
Police attempt to calm the crowd as someone is arrested following the sniper shooting in Dallas on July 7, 2016. A fourth police officer was killed and two suspected snipers were in custody after a protest late Thursday against police brutality in Dallas, authorities said. One suspect had turned himself in and another who was in a shootout with SWAT officers was also in custody, the Dallas Police Department tweeted. / AFP PHOTO / Laura BuckmanLAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images
Police cars sit on Main Street in Dallas following the sniper shooting during a protest on July 7, 2016. A fourth police officer was killed and two suspected snipers were in custody after a protest late Thursday against police brutality in Dallas, authorities said. One suspect had turned himself in and another who was in a shootout with SWAT officers was also in custody, the Dallas Police Department tweeted. / AFP PHOTO / Laura BuckmanLAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images
Police cars sit on Main Street in Dallas following the sniper shooting during a protest on July 7, 2016. A fourth police officer was killed and two suspected snipers were in custody after a protest late Thursday against police brutality in Dallas, authorities said. One suspect had turned himself in and another who was in a shootout with SWAT officers was also in custody, the Dallas Police Department tweeted. / AFP PHOTO / Laura BuckmanLAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images
Bystanders stand near pollice baracades following the sniper shooting in Dallas on July 7, 2016. A fourth police officer was killed and two suspected snipers were in custody after a protest late Thursday against police brutality in Dallas, authorities said. One suspect had turned himself in and another who was in a shootout with SWAT officers was also in custody, the Dallas Police Department tweeted. / AFP PHOTO / Laura BuckmanLAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images
DALLAS, TX - JULY 7: Dallas police and residents stand near the scene where four Dallas police officers were shot and killed on July 7, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. According to reports, shots were fired during a protest being held in downtown Dallas in response to recent fatal shootings of two black men by police - Alton Sterling on July 5, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile on July 6, 2016, in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - JULY 7: Dallas police stand near the scene where four Dallas police officers were shot and killed on July 7, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. According to reports, shots were fired during a protest being held in downtown Dallas in response to recent fatal shootings of two black men by police - Alton Sterling on July 5, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile on July 6, 2016, in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - JULY 7: Dallas residents stand near the scene where four Dallas police officers were shot and killed on July 7, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. According to reports, shots were fired during a protest being held in downtown Dallas in response to recent fatal shootings of two black men by police - Alton Sterling on July 5, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile on July 6, 2016, in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
A Dallas police officer walks past a closed garage entrance Thursday, July 7, 2016, in Dallas. Snipers opened fire on police officers during protests; some of the officers were killed, police said. (Maria R. Olivas/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
A mother tries to calm her daughter as Dallas police respond to shots being fired during a protest over recent fatal shootings by police in Louisiana and Minnesota,Thursday, July 7, 2016, in Dallas. Snipers opened fire on police officers during protests; several officers were killed, police said. (Maria R. Olivas/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
Dallas police respond after shots were fired during a protest over recent fatal shootings by police in Louisiana and Minnesota, Thursday, July 7, 2016, in Dallas. Snipers opened fire on police officers during protests; several officers were killed, police said. (Maria R. Olivas/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
A mother covers her children as Dallas police respond to shots being fired during a protest over recent fatal shootings by police in Louisiana and Minnesota, Thursday, July 7, 2016, in Dallas. Snipers opened fire on police officers during protests; several officers were killed, police said. (Maria R. Olivas/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
Dallas police move to detains a driver after several police officers were shot in downtown Dallas, Thursday, July 7, 2016. Snipers apparently shot police officers during protests and some of the officers are dead, the city's police chief said in a statement. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Dallas police respond after shots were fired during a protest over recent fatal shootings by police in Louisiana and Minnesota, Thursday, July 7, 2016, in Dallas. Snipers opened fire on police officers during protests; several officers were killed, police said. (Maria R. Olivas/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
Dallas police respond after shots were fired during a protest over recent fatal shootings by police in Louisiana and Minnesota, Thursday, July 7, 2016, in Dallas. Snipers opened fire on police officers during protests; several officers were killed, police said. (Maria R. Olivas/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
A Dallas police officer covers his face as he stands with others outside the emergency room at Baylor University Medical Center, Friday, July 8, 2016, in Dallas. Snipers opened fire on police officers in the heart of Dallas on Thursday night, killing some of the officers. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Police check a car early Friday, July 8, 2016, in Dallas, Snipers opened fire on police officers in Dallas on Thursday night; some of the officers were killed, police said. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
A Dallas police vehicle that has damage to the upper rear door and a red fluid stain beneath the same door is hauled away from the Baylor University Medical Center emergency room, Friday, July 8, 2016, in Dallas. Snipers opened fire on police officers in the heart of Dallas on Thursday night, killing some of the officers. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
TOPSHOT - Bystanders stand near pollice baracades following the sniper shooting in Dallas on July 7, 2016. A fourth police officer was killed and two suspected snipers were in custody after a protest late Thursday against police brutality in Dallas, authorities said. One suspect had turned himself in and another who was in a shootout with SWAT officers was also in custody, the Dallas Police Department tweeted. / AFP PHOTO / Laura BuckmanLAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty Images
A Dallas police officer, who did not want to be identified, takes a moment as she guards an intersection in the early morning after a shooting in downtown Dallas, Friday, July 8, 2016. At least two snipers opened fire on police officers during protests in Dallas on Thursday night; some of the officers were killed, police said. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Johnson insisted on speaking with a black negotiator and wrote in blood on the wall of a parking garage where police cornered and later killed him.

The gunman wrote the letters "RB" and other markings, but the meaning is unclear. Investigators are trying to decipher the writing by looking through evidence from Johnson's suburban Dallas home.

The writing suggested that Johnson was wounded in a shootout with police.

The police chief defended the decision to kill Johnson with a bomb delivered by remote-controlled robot, saying negotiations went nowhere and that officers could not approach him without putting themselves in danger.

He also became increasingly concerned that "at a split-second, he would charge us and take out many more before we would kill him".

The shootings took place just a few blocks from where president John F Kennedy was slain in 1963.

Federal agents are trying to trace the origin of the weapons used, including a military-style semi-automatic rifle. About 30 agents are involved in identifying bullet casings.

The wider crime scene includes the parking garage where Johnson was killed and at least two other sites where he is believed to have fired at officers.

The attack began on Thursday evening during protests over the police killings of Philando Castile, who was fatally shot near St Paul, Minnesota, and Alton Sterling, who was shot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after being pinned to the pavement by two white officers.

Video from Dallas showed protesters marching along a street about half a mile from City Hall when shots erupted and the crowd scattered, seeking cover.

Among those injured were two officers from El Centro College, identified them as Cpl Bryan Shaw and Officer John Abbott.

Cpl Shaw was struck by a bullet as he guarded an entrance to the college, but treated on scene, the statement said.

Officer Abbott was also guarding the entrance, and was hurt in both legs from flying glass after it was struck by bullets.

Cpl Abbott tended to his wounds at the scene and then returned to assist others, the statement said.

Dallas police previously said seven officers and two civilians were hurt in the attack, but its number of wounded did not include any El Centro College officers.

AP

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