The Slatest

What We Know About Dallas Shooter Micah Xavier Johnson

A photo of Micah Xavier Johnson from his Facebook account. The account has since been taken down.


The man who was possibly the only shooter in the attack that killed five police officers during a protest in downtown Dallas on Thursday has been identified by law enforcement sources as Micah Xavier Johnson. Johnson was killed in a standoff with police when negotiations failed and a robot-placed explosive device was detonated near him.

Here is what we know about Johnson so far:

According to a law enforcement source who spoke to the Los Angeles Times, he is a 25-year-old Dallas resident.

The Times also reported that Johnson had no known criminal record or ties to terror.

Dallas police chief David Brown said that during the standoff in which he was killed, the “[t]he suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.” He also said the police would find planted explosive devices, and he “expressed anger about Black Lives Matter” during the standoff, though it was unclear what was meant by that last statement.

The Times reported that Johnson has relatives in Mesquite, Texas, and that “[a]uthorities believe Johnson belonged to an informal gun club and took copious amounts of target practice, according to a law enforcement official.”

CNN and the Daily Beast reported that Johnson was a military veteran. The Daily Beast also reported that he attended a gym that offered martial arts and weapons classes:

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 out of Santa Fe, New Mexico. He previously deployed to Afghanistan.

Johnson formerly attended the “self-defense and personal protection” gym Academy of Combat Warrior Arts in Richardson and Fort Worth, Texas, gym owner and CEO Justin Everman told The Daily Beast. The gym’s Twitter account says it provides “reality based training for today’s Urban environment.”

Along with more traditional martial arts classes, the gym also teaches seminars in “Urban Everyday Carry and Improvised Weapons” and “Weapons Defense.” Everman said many of the gym’s members are police officers and stressed that “we have completely no affiliation with him whatsoever.”

The Times reported that Johnson served in Afghanistan from November 2013 to July 2014 with the 420th Engineer Brigade and was an Army reservist for six years until April 2015.

His Facebook profile photo on a since-deleted account showed him wearing an African dashiki and giving a black power salute. 

In April, he posted a photo of himself with Professor Griff from Public Enemy.

Via Facebook.

In a strange detail, Dallas police seemed to focus on that relationship.

The profile also included a photo of the Pan-African flag and an illustration of a closed fist that read “Black Power.” He was a member of the Facebook group “Black Panther Party Mississippi” and liked pages for black nationalist groups like The New Black Panther Party, the Black Riders Liberation Party, and the African American Defense League.

On Wednesday, his sister Nicole Johnson posted a message on Facebook criticizing police and suggesting that “i for one think these cops need to get a taste of the life we now fear.”

This post has been updated with additional details as more information has become available.

See more of Slate’s coverage of the Dallas shooting.