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MESQUITE, Texas (AP) – The man who killed five Dallas police officers and wounded seven others was described as a loner, an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan and a follower of black militant groups on social media.
Among the Facebook “likes” of 25-year-old Micah Xavier Johnson were the African American Defense League and the New Black Panther Party, which was founded in Dallas. He also was a member of the Facebook group “Black Panther Party Mississippi.” A photo on Facebook showed Johnson wearing a dashiki – his raised, clinched fist over the words “Black Power.”
Johnson, who was killed by a police remote-controlled bomb early Friday, had learned about the military in the ROTC program at the high school he attended in Mesquite, a blue-collar suburb east of Dallas. During his military service, he was a private first class with a specialty in carpentry and masonry, according to the military. Officials said he served in the Army Reserve for six years starting in 2009 and did one tour in Afghanistan from November 2013 to July 2014.
When authorities searched Johnson’s home Friday they found bomb-making materials, ballistic vests, rifles, ammunition, and a personal journal of combat tactics.
Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown said that Johnson, who was black, had told negotiators before he was killed that he was upset with the fatal shootings earlier in the week of black men by police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota.
“The suspect said he was upset with white people and wanted to kill white people, especially white officers,” Brown said.
The African American Defense League posted a message Wednesday encouraging violence against police in response to the shooting in Louisiana. “The Pig has shot and killed Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana! You and I know what we must do and I don’t mean marching, making a lot of noise, or attending conventions.
We must ‘Rally The Troops!’ It is time to visit Louisiana and hold a barbeque. The highlight of our occasion will be to sprinkle Pigs Blood! Louisiana Revolutionaries You are being called out! Make ready and we shall come as thieves in the night!”
The message was attributed to Dr. Mauricelm-Lei Millere, a leader in the organization.
Leaders of the New Black Panther Party have “long expressed virulently anti-white and anti-Semitic opinions,” said the Southern Poverty Law Center. “Its leaders have blamed Jews for the 9/11 terrorist attacks and for the slave trade.”
The Dallas Police Department said that Johnson’s Facebook account also included information about Richard Griffin, also known as Professor Griff, who “embraces a radical form of Afrocentrism.”
On his Facebook page Friday afternoon, Griffin, a member of Public Enemy — an influential hip hop group known for its politically charged lyrics — said he does “not advocate killing Cops.”
There were other hints about Johnson’s political leanings, according to his Facebook profile. While photos depict Johnson in his camouflage Army uniform, the cover shot on his Facebook page carries the red, black and green Pan-African flag.
Among Johnson’s other social media likes were I Love Black Archaeologist, a web series whose main character uses a time machine to visit famous black people; Black Love Matters; and the Nubian Rootz Cultural Center — groups that focus on the history and accomplishment of African-Americans.