Officers Work To Confirm If Gunman Acted Alone In Dallas Attack | KERA News

Officers Work To Confirm If Gunman Acted Alone In Dallas Attack

Jul 8, 2016
Originally published on July 11, 2016 1:14 pm
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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

NPR has obtained what investigators believe could be the Dallas gunman's manifesto. It appeared underneath a photo of the man on social media. And for more on that, we turn to NPR's Dina Temple-Raston. Hi, Dina.

DINA TEMPLE-RASTON, BYLINE: Hi there.

SHAPIRO: So your law enforcement sources are taking a close look at his, what appears to be, manifesto. What can you tell us about it?

TEMPLE-RASTON: Well, investigators are still trying to confirm that the shooter, Micah Xavier Johnson, actually was the author of this so-called manifesto. It went up on his social media site - or social media post after he had died. And after events like this, there are often false posts. But investigators haven't dismissed this one. They're trying to match it with some writings of his that they already have. And authorities also haven't ruled out that maybe someone put it up for him, knowing what he intended to do. What we can say for sure now is that law enforcement officials are seriously looking at it. And the best way to characterize what it says is that - he basically said, he was fed up with seeing all these police shootings of black people, and he thought police should have to pay for that.

SHAPIRO: Do we have any other clues as to what might have led him to do this?

TEMPLE-RASTON: Well, we know from Dallas police officials that Johnson was upset about recent police shootings, the two 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: And that echoes what was written in this so-called manifesto.

SHAPIRO: Now, the Dallas police released some more details about the investigation, including items they found at his home. What can you tell us about that?

TEMPLE-RASTON: Well, police detectives found bomb-making materials, ballistic vests, rifles, ammunition and a personal journal of what they called combat tactics. The mayor of Dallas talked about that this afternoon as well.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MIKE RAWLINGS: There was confusion with everybody running around, but this was a mobile shooter that had written manifestos on how to shoot, move - shoot and move, and he did that.

TEMPLE-RASTON: Well, that journal could hold some clues about Johnson himself and could help provide more detail on his motive. For example, detectives found on his Facebook account a lot of what they characterized as a radical form of Afrocentrism. And that would be in keeping with what we've heard from the police chief in terms of what Johnson allegedly told police negotiators he was talking to when he was cornered in the parking garage after the attack.

SHAPIRO: And can you tell us anything more about how he died in that parking garage, apparently involving a robot?

TEMPLE-RASTON: That's right. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings provided a little detail about that. He said that after negotiating with Johnson for hours that he was essentially given a choice - surrender without harm and remain in place or, you know, come out. And Rawlings said, he chose to remain in place. So officials sent in this robot that they usually use to defuse bombs, and they detonated some C-4, which is a kind of explosive, killing Johnson. That's the first time we've ever seen this robotic device that usually disarms bombs used in this way. And I suspect we're going to hear a lot more about that in the coming days.

SHAPIRO: And Dina, as this is just the early stages of the investigation, what are the biggest questions left unanswered that you're still waiting to learn?

TEMPLE-RASTON: I think we're really trying to find out whether or not - even though he hay have done the shooting himself, which is what detectives seem to think is the case, whether or not he had anyone helping him. This gets to the idea of whether or not the manifesto was put up by someone else, whether or not somebody goaded him to action, whether there are other things that are going to come out that give you some sort of detail about why he did this now. Was there something that made him snap, and that's why he did it?

SHAPIRO: That's NPR's Dina Temple-Raston on the latest into the investigation into the Dallas shootings. Dina, thanks very much.

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