The Slatest

Dallas Shooter Had Plans for Larger Attack, Says Police Chief

People visit a memorial at the Dallas police department’s headquarters on Saturday near the active crime scene in downtown Dallas following the deaths of five police officers.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The sniper who killed five police officers in Dallas planned larger attacks, probably on law enforcement, the city’s police chief said Sunday, as he provided new details about how the suspect taunted authorities for two hours during negotiations. “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 color,” David Brown said in an interview with CNN’s State of the Union.

The shooter, Micah Xavier Johnson, was “determined to hurt more officers” and bomb-making materials as well as a journal that were found in his home seem to suggest he had been practicing detonations. If he had been successful it could have caused “devastating effects on our city,” he said.

The Army veteran who served in Afghanistan “obviously had some delusion,” Brown said, giving new details about how he scrawled the letters “RB” on a wall with his blood before he was killed with a robot bomb. Authorities are currently looking through Johnson’s writings and possessions to try to figure out what those apparent initials mean. But at the very least it suggests that he was injured during the shootout with police.

Johnson specifically asked to speak with a black negotiator but didn’t seem to have any desire to actually end the standoff. “We had negotiated with him for about two hours, and he just basically lied to us—playing games, laughing at us, singing, asking how many [police officers] did he get and that he wanted to kill some more and that there were bombs there,” Brown said.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said he fully supported the decision to kill Johnson with a robot-delivered bomb. “We talked to this man a long time, and he threatened to blow up our police officers, we went to his home we saw that there was bomb-making equipment later,” Rawlings said on CBS’s Face the Nation. “So it was very important that we realize that he may not be bluffing. So we ask him, ‘Do you want to come out safely or do you want to stay there and we’re going to take you down?’ And he chose the latter.”

Read more Slate coverage of the Dallas attack.