Police do not know what the letters mean but believe Johnson wrote them in his own blood.
WASHINGTON — Micah Xavier Johnson, who carried out the deadly attacks on Dallas police, wrote the letters “R.B.” in blood on the walls of the parking garage where he died, Police Chief David Brown said Sunday.
Police do not know what the letters mean but believe Johnson wrote them in his own blood, Brown said on CNN. The letters indicate Johnson was wounded when he barricaded himself in the downtown Dallas building.
Brown expanded on Johnson’s motivations and behavior during the standoff Thursday night. The chief said the investigation suggests that Johnson had long prepared for the attack but fast-tracked his plan after a protest march against recent police shootings of two African-American men in Louisiana and Minnesota was announced.
Brown said police are still going through Johnson’s laptop and mobile phone to determine whether others are connected, and they “haven’t ruled out whether or not others are complicit.”
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The chief said they are “convinced this suspect had other plans and thought that what he was doing was righteous” and was determined to “make us pay for what he sees as law enforcement’s efforts to punish people of color.”
Brown discussed his decision to use an explosives-armed robot to end the standoff, saying that he believed that Johnson, who died as a result, “was intent on hurting more of us.”
He shut down questions about the wisdom of using explosives, saying he doesn’t give much credence to sideline critics.
“You have to trust your people to make the calls … to save their lives,” he said. “We believe that we saved lives by making this decision … I appreciate critics, but they’re not on the ground, their lives are not being put at risk by debating what tactics to take. “
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings reiterated his support of the decision to use the robot, saying it was ultimately “the safest way to approach it.”
Rawlings said authorities felt added urgency because Johnson “threatened to blow up our police officers,” noting that bomb-making materials were later found in Johnson’s home.
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“It was very important that we realized he may not be bluffing,” Rawlings said. “We asked him: ‘Do you want to come out safely or do you want to stay there and we’ll take you down?’ And he chose the latter.”
Both Rawlings and Brown praised the work of police officers, some of whom stepped into the line of fire during the chaotic attack to determine the location of the shooter, the chief said.
Rawlings noted Texas’ open carry-gun laws, which allowed demonstrators to legally carry weapons during the march, added to the confusion as gunfire broke out Thursday.
“In the middle of a firefight, it’s hard to pick out the good guys (from) the bad guys,” Rawlings said.
Brown called for a shift in the broader national discussion about policing, particularly in minority communities. He acknowledged that not every force or officer “is perfect” and that some shouldn’t be cops, but that the bad officers are a small part of the police community.
Painting law enforcement with a broad brush “is not sustainable to keeping these officers encouraged,” Brown said, adding officers “risk their lives for $40,000 a year — $40,000 a year.”
Asked what he’d say to demonstrators across the country who took to the streets recently in protest of police shootings of black men, Brown said: “We are sworn to protect you and your right to protest, and we will give our lives for it.”
He then compared the tension between law enforcement and demonstrators as a relationship in which “you love that person but that person can’t express or show that love back.”
“There’s no greater love than to give your life for someone, and that’s what we are continuing to be willing to do,” he said, adding; “We just need to hear from protesters, back to us, ‘We appreciate the work you do for us, in our right to protest.’ That should be fairly easy.”