The suspected shooter in the Dallas attack on police officers was a former enlisted Army reservist who served for six years and completed a tour of duty in Afghanistan, personnel officials said on Friday.
Micah Xavier Johnson, 25, who allegedly shot and killed five law enforcement officers — including four Dallas police officers and a Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer, two of whom were also military veterans — entered the Army Reserve in March 2009 at age 18 from his home of record at the time in Mesquite, Texas, the service said in a statement to Military.com.
Johnson’s rank was listed as private first class (E-3) at the time of discharge in April 2015, the Army said. He was a carpentry and masonry specialist with a military occupational specialty of 12W, the service said.
Johnson was assigned to an engineer brigade in Seagoville, Texas, in September 2013 and was activated that same month to support Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, where he served with the 420th Engineer Brigade from November 2013 to July 2014. He completed his time in uniform with the same unit.
His awards included the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star; the Army Achievement Medal; the National Defense Service Medal; the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; the Army Service Ribbon; the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with “M” Device; and the NATO Medal.
Johnson was killed by police using an armed explosive delivered by a robot, a tactic that may have been a first, police said.
Law enforcement officials were still trying to confirm a motive for the killings but Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown said Johnson was upset by the two recent high-profile shootings of black victims by white police officers.
“He was upset about Black Lives Matter. He said he was upset about the recent police shootings,” Brown said. “The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.”
The information on Johnson released by the Army did not make clear whether he had received advanced firearms training.
During the shooting, Johnson was using a long rifle and firing .223-caliber rounds, according to Cedric Alexander, a law enforcement analyst. “They do extreme damage,” he told CNN.
The attack, described as the deadliest against U.S. police since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, also left seven other officers and two civilians wounded. Former military personnel were also identified among the victims.
Brent Thompson, among those killed in Dallas, was a former U.S. Marine who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan to train local police, Fox News reported. The 43-year-old was a newly married grandfather who joined the Dallas Area Rapid Transit police department in 2009, the news organization reported.
Patrick Zamarripa, 32, who was also slain in the attack, was a Navy veteran who had survived three tours in Iraq before joining the Dallas police department about five years ago, Stars & Stripes reported.
–Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional information about the gunman’s military service.