Law Enforcement Continue Probe Into Dallas Sniper Attack

Jul 8, 2016
Originally published on July 11, 2016 2:14 pm
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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

NPR has obtained what investigators believe is the Dallas gunman's manifesto. That manifesto appeared underneath a photo of the suspect on social media. For more on that, we turn to NPR's Dina Temple-Raston. And Dina, you've just received from your sources this manifesto of sorts. Tell us about it. What does it say?

DINA TEMPLE-RASTON, BYLINE: Well, the manifesto itself - these law enforcement sources are trying to ensure that this is in fact something that is from the gunman, Micah Xavier Johnson. And in the manifesto it says, quote, "he couldn't bear watching brothers and sisters die every day." And then he - at the hand of - and then he uses an epithet to describe police. And it continues, I had to take a stand; they had to be taught a lesson. And then it says, if this is being read, then it means he's dead. And then he calls on others to rise up.

Now, it doesn't provide details of the shooting per se, some details that perhaps nobody but himself would know. But investigators believe that if this is, in fact, from Micah Xavier Johnson, the suspected gunman, then it goes a long way - or at least part way toward explaining what happened.

SIEGEL: Before you learned of this manifesto, we didn't have much to go on in terms of a motive. But what we did have came from a news conference earlier today in which the mayor of Dallas and the police chief both spoke. What - what was said there?

TEMPLE-RASTON: Well, we know from Dallas police officials that the man they described as the shooter was upset about recent police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana. Let's listen to how Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown described it.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DAVID BROWN: He said he was upset about the recent police shootings. The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.

TEMPLE-RASTON: Now we're getting a little bit of detail about Johnson. And we know, for example, that he was a U.S. Army reservist who actually served in Afghanistan for a year. And that's important to the investigation because officials are trying to figure out if there was more than one shooter involved. And while we don't know all the facts, having military training could explain why a single shooter could have done that much damage. Johnson was not - he was not in a combat role in Afghanistan, but he did have military firearms training.

SIEGEL: There were three other suspects, though, who were arrested shortly after the attack. What's happened to them?

TEMPLE-RASTON: Well, our understanding is that they do not appear to have any connection to Johnson or to extremist groups. They may actually have just been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Our law enforcement sources told us that one was a woman who was near the parking garage where - where Johnson was holed up shortly after the shooting. And then the two others that police were questioning were two men who were seen putting a bag in their Mercedes and speeding away from the scene. They were arrested, or they were at least taken in in a Dallas suburb. And there are conflicting reports as to whether or not the three have actually been released. But officials told us that it doesn't look right now like they had any involvement. And they haven't found any connection between these people and the shooter, Micah Xavier Johnson.

SIEGEL: And Dina, what do we know at this point about how - how Johnson died?

TEMPLE-RASTON: Well, there's some confusion about that. People have - had been - police had been negotiating with him literally for hours. And he continued to threaten them, and then the chief of police, David Brown, made a decision. And this is what he said.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BROWN: We saw no other option but to use our bomb robot and place a device on its extension for it to detonate where the suspect was.

TEMPLE-RASTON: That's the first time we've ever seen them use a device like this. We don't have all the details on what exactly was on the end of this - this bomb robot's arm and how it worked. And I suspect that we'll be hearing a lot more about that in the coming days.

SIEGEL: I have to add here that, speaking with someone who's very knowledgeable about police forces throughout the United States, he confessed this was the first he'd ever heard of such a - of such a bomb-delivering robot.

TEMPLE-RASTON: Well, we're not exactly sure if it was an explosive that was on the end or if it was some sort of flashbang grenade that went off the wrong way. We're still trying to find out.

SIEGEL: OK. That's NPR's Dina Temple-Raston. Thanks.

TEMPLE-RASTON: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.