Amid Deepening Investigation, A Clearer Picture Of Dallas Shooter Micah Xavier Johnson Emerges : The Two-Way The man who fatally shot five Dallas police officers may have had plans for a wider attack, according to the city's police chief. Investigators are piecing together Micah Xavier Johnson's final days.
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Amid Deepening Investigation, A Clearer Picture Of Dallas Shooter Emerges

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Amid Deepening Investigation, A Clearer Picture Of Dallas Shooter Emerges

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The Dallas shooter who killed five police officers last week may have had plans to launch a more deadly attack. That's according to Dallas Police Chief David Brown, who provided new details to CNN.

DAVID BROWN: 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 make law enforcement - target law enforcement and make us pay for what he sees as law enforcement's efforts to punish people of color.

MONTAGNE: That's the police chief of Dallas. NPR's Dina Temple-Raston has been following the investigation and joins us with the latest now. Good morning.

DINA TEMPLE-RASTON, BYLINE: Good morning.

MONTAGNE: What else are law enforcement officials finding?

TEMPLE-RASTON: Well, we spoke to two law enforcement officials close to the investigation who are trying to piece together what 25-year-old former Army reservist Micah Xavier Johnson was doing in the days and weeks leading up to the attacks. Investigators have searched a house Johnson shared with his mother in Mesquite, Texas, which is a Dallas suburb. And they found ammunition and detonators and explosives and journals that he wrote in. And all that evidence is one of the reasons why they believe he wanted to do something more violent. Johnson's mother, we're told, is cooperating with the police, but there's some mysteries that remain. For example, the shooter wrote cryptic messages in his own blood on the wall where he was killed. We understand from our sources that he scrawled the letters RB, and nobody knows what that stands for yet.

MONTAGNE: And that's in a garage. You know, it was in a public space.

TEMPLE-RASTON: It's in a public space, and it was written in his blood.

TEMPLE-RASTON: Right.

TEMPLE-RASTON: And apparently there were some other words that he wrote on the walls just before he died. But investigators haven't made those details public yet.

MONTAGNE: Do police now think that the shooter had not planned necessarily to attack last Thursday night, but that the protests gave him an opportunity to target police?

TEMPLE-RASTON: Exactly. We know a little bit more from our sources about what happened before he started shooting. They told us that Johnson took his mother's car to the protest. And that protest was originally supposed to be something they call a static event, meaning it all took place in one - one place. And then these demonstrators spontaneously started marching, and that wasn't something that the police had actually planned for. So they started moving from block to block to protect the protesters from oncoming traffic. And now they know - or they believe they know that Johnson was sort of shadowing the march in this car and then decided to park the car and go to higher ground and open fire.

MONTAGNE: Now, you said among the clues investigators discovered in his mother's house were journals that he had - Johnson was thought to have written. What are they getting out of those journals?

TEMPLE-RASTON: Well, our sources say the journals contain a lot of diagrams and notes on combat tactics. And they also contain sort of disjointed rants that investigators are still trying to understand. They found his computer, and they're scouring that to try to see if they can find any connections he might have with other groups. They haven't ruled out that he had some accomplices or at least people who might have helped him indirectly. For example, there was a manifesto on social media that was posted after the attack began. And they haven't determined if he's the author of that manifesto, but it certainly touched on a lot of the same themes that police have been focused on, and they haven't ruled out that either he posted it during the attack or something he had an accomplice post. And now that they have his computer, they can understand that a lot better.

MONTAGNE: And we'll obviously be learning much, much more in the coming days.

TEMPLE-RASTON: We expect so.

MONTAGNE: That's NPR's Dina Temple-Raston. Thanks very much.

TEMPLE-RASTON: You're welcome.

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