The Dallas Shooting Suspect Had Military Experience

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Micah X. Johnson served in the U.S. Army.
Photo via Facebook

On July 7, just before 9 p.m., shots rang out in downtown Dallas, Texas, during a protest over recent police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana. Initial reports suggested that multiple gunmen were involved, and that the attack had been organized as an ambush, with the shooters taking aim at police officers from an elevated position. So far, five officers have been confirmed dead, including one who had served three tours in Iraq with the Navy. Seven more officers and two civilians were also wounded in the attack. It was the deadliest day for American law enforcement since Sept. 11, 2001.


After a prolonged standoff in a hotel near the scene of the shooting, Dallas police used a robot armed with a bomb to kill one of the suspected gunman, who, according to the Los Angeles Times, has been identified as Micah X. Johnson, a 25-year-old U.S. Army veteran. Before he was killed, the suspect told law enforcement officials that he was upset “with white people.” Additionally, Johnson claimed he was “not affiliated with any groups,” that he carried out the attack alone, and that he had planted bombs “all over” downtown Dallas, the city’s police chief, David Brown, said during a press conference.

“The suspect said we will eventually find the IEDs,” Brown said. “He wanted to kill officers. And he expressed killing white people, killing white officers, he expressed anger for Black Lives Matter.” He added: “None of that makes sense. None of that is a reason to do harm to anyone.”

Police are not yet convinced that Johnson was the only gunmen involved in the shooting. The police chief said other suspects were in custody, but did not specify how many. “I’m not going to be satisfied until we turn over every stone,” Brown said. “So if there is someone out there that was associated with this, we will find you and we will prosecute you and we will bring you to justice.”

A photo of Micah X. Johnson taken from Facebook shows him in uniform.Photo via Facebook.

So far, few details about Johnson or his military service have been made public. According to the Los Angeles Times, he lived in the Dallas area, and his immediate family lives in Mesquite Texas, east of Dallas. Following his death, Johnson’s sister posted photos of her brother on Facebook, showing the slain suspect in his military uniform. From the photos it is difficult to deduce what unit Johnson served in or any other specifics about his military service aside from the fact that he was, at least at one point, an enlisted soldier. However, a U.S. defense official told The Daily Beast that Johnson served as a corporal in the Army Reserve as part of the 284th Engineering Company, and that he deployed to Afghanistan.

According to the U.S. Army, the 284th Engineering Company is based in Seagoville, Texas, right outside of Dallas. The unit was activated for a deployment to Herat Province, Afghanistan in September 2013 and was reverted to reserve status in October 2014. A reporter at the Washington Post tweeted that Johnson was a Carpentry and Masonry Specialist (MOS 12W), and that he was still in the Individual Ready Reserves at the time of his death. Construction appears to have been the 284th's primary mission in Afghanistan. Dan Lamothe, another Washington Post reporter, has tweeted that, per Johnson's Army records, he was not a recipient of the Combat Action Badge, which is awarded to soldiers who've engaged in direct combat with the enemy.

Suspected gunman Micah X JohnsonPhoto via Facebook

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Micah X. Johnson was not a recipient of the Combat Action Ribbon. "Combat Action Ribbon" has been changed to "Combat Action Badge," which is awarded to soldiers who've engaged in direct combat with the enemy. The Combat Action Ribbon is not an Army award. (7/8/16; 8:57pm)

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