Dallas Shooter Planned Attack for Months, Took ‘Opportunity’ of Protests, Judge Says

Micah Johnson/Facebook(DALLAS) -- Micah Johnson had planned his sniper attack on Dallas police for months and practiced combat tactics in preparation, a Dallas official said Sunday.

Johnson opened fire on police during a peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstration Thursday night, when marchers were protesting the fatal shootings of two black men by police officers, one in Minnesota and the other in Arkansas. He killed five police officers and wounded seven others.

Dallas County Chief Executive Judge Clay Jenkins said Johnson had been planning and training, and took advantage of the protest because of the high police presence.

"He knew police would be amassing at that scene and he used it as an opportunity to shoot," Jenkins said.

Johnson had two weapons, both purchased legally -- an SKS rifle and a handgun -- and was prepared with many magazines for the rifle, the judge said.

Law enforcement officials say Johnson, an Army vet, used his military training in carrying out the attack.

Johnson found a spot in a parking garage at about 9 p.m., overlooking an area where police were hemmed in by protesters, and opened fire.

Police were eventually able to trap Johnson on the second floor of the El Centro College building, which Jenkins said had been put on lockdown when the shooting started.

For two hours, police tried to negotiate with Johnson, but Dallas Police Chief David Brown told CNN Sunday that "he basically lied to us, playing games, laughing at us, singing, asking how many did he get and that he wanted to kill some more."

But all that time, Johnson was wounded, and he used his own blood to start to write something on the wall of the room where he was holed up, Jenkins said.

"We believe that he was wounded as he was going up the stairs," said Jenkins. "We believe he wrote in his own blood on the wall."

Brown finally ordered the SWAT team to send in a bomb-carrying robot to kill Johnson, and it was detonated at 1:31 a.m.

Law enforcement experts say it appears to be the first time such a robot was used to kill a suspect, and questions have been raised about the ethics of the move, but Jenkins echoed Brown's defense of the decision.

"I do believe it was warranted because it saved lives," he said.

Because the college was on lockdown, there were other people in the building when the bomb was detonated, but they were all unharmed when they were evacuated later, he said. He said the charge used was small enough that it would not have hurt anyone but the suspect.

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Charlottesville mayor to issue statement on Robert E. Lee statue

Charlottesville mayor to issue statement on Robert E. Lee statueMark Wilson/Getty Images(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) -- Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer will issue a statement Friday afternoon after canceling a news conference at which he was expected to "make a major announcement" regarding the local statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and the legacy of the woman killed during a protest sparked by the city's plans to remove the statue.

His news conference had been scheduled for noon on Friday, but the mayor tweeted Friday morning that "we are canceling today’s press conference and instead issuing a statement in the afternoon."

FYI all: we are canceling today’s press conference and instead issuing a statement in the afternoon. Stay tuned.

— Mike Signer (@MikeSigner) August 18, 2017

FYI, the reason for the change is we decided a statement rather than a press event was the best medium for the ideas I want to convey today.

— Mike Signer (@MikeSigner) August 18, 2017

The statement comes six days after a Unite the Right rally sparked by Charlottesville's plan to remove the Lee statue from a local park turned deadly.

The rally was attended by neo-Nazis, skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members. They were met with hundreds of counterprotesters, which led to street brawls and violent clashes.

A driver plowed into counterprotesters, killing Heather Heyer, 32, and injuring several others. The suspected driver is in custody, facing charges including second-degree murder.

Despite the "painful" event, "we’re not going to let them define us,” Signer told ABC News earlier this week of the agitators.

"They’re not going to tell our story," he said. "We’re going to tell our story. And outsiders -- their time has come and gone. This city is back on their feet, and we’re going to be better than ever despite this."

Signer compared his hopes for Charlottesville's recovery to the aftermath of the Charleston, South Carolina, church shooting in June 2015 that killed nine people. The gunman in that attack said he wanted to start a race war, but the tragedy instead united the city.

"There’s a memorial right now in front of Charlottesville City Hall that’s flowers and a heart that talks about the love that we have here. Those are the images that are going to replace these horrific ones from this weekend. That’s the work that we have as a country," Signer said.

"That’s what happened in Charleston. There were those horrible images of those people bloodied and killed and weeping from the church. But they were replaced quickly, steadily, by the work that started to happen. By people who said, 'You’re not going to tell our story for us. We’re going to tell our story.'

"And that’s what’s happening in this community. That’s my work as the mayor here -- is not to allow these hateful people who just don’t get this country to define us," he said. "And they’re not going to define us."

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