Micah Xavier Johnson served in the army for six years and was deployed to Afghanistan for a year

By Harriet Sokmensuer
Updated July 08, 2016 05:35 PM
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Credit: LAURA BUCKMAN/AFP/Getty

The sniper authorities believe killed five police officers at a Black Lives Matter protest Thursday night was an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, PEOPLE confirms.

Micah Xavier Johnson, 25, who Dallas police identified as a suspect in a press release, served in the U.S. Army from 2009 to 2015 and was deployed to Afghanistan in from September 2013 to August 2014, according to his service history records, which were obtained by PEOPLE.

Johnson, of Mesquite, Texas, a suburb east of Dallas, was awarded several medals and ribbons, including the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. He had no criminal history, the release states.

According to the release, detectives found in his house “bomb-making materials, ballistic vests, rifles, ammunition and a personal journal of combat tactics. Detectives are in the process of analyzing the information contained in the journal.”

According to the release, “others have identified [Johnson] as a loner.”

The release states that one of the Facebook names Johnson uses on his Facebook account, GRIFFIN, “embraces a radical form of Afrocentrism.”

Johnson’s family could not be reached for comment.

Source: No Connection to Terrorist Groups

On Thursday, Johnson opened fire at what had been a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest after fatal police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana, killing five police officers and injuring seven. Two civilians were also injured. The ambush is said to be the deadliest attack on U.S. law enforcement since Sept. 11, 2001, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

The first two shots were fired 8:45 p.m. as the march concluded, an FBI source tells PEOPLE.

Of the seven wounded officers, three remain in critical condition while the two civilians who were shot are expected to make a full recovery, the FBI source says.

“Johnson was armed with an SKS assault rifle and a handgun and was shooting from ground level,” sources say, adding he wore full body army and ballistic plates.

The same FBI source tells PEOPLE that law enforcement officials believe the gunman had ties with terrorist groups: “There is no indication Micah Johnson was inspired by or motivated by – or had any connection to – any international or domestic terrorist group.”

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The sniper was killed by police, Police Chief David Brown said at a Friday morning press conference. He was killed by a bomb set off by police when officers used a “bomb robot,” Brown said.

Brown described a tense stand off and hours of negotiating between officers and the sniper on the second floor of El Centro College in downtown Dallas.

“[The gunman] said he was upset over Black Lives Matter. He said he was upset over the recent police shootings,” Brown said. “The suspect said he was upset at white people, he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.”

[The sniper] also said he was not affiliated with any groups and that “he did this alone,” Brown said.

“We’re hurting,” Chief Brown said at the press conference Friday morning. “Our profession is hurting. We are heartbroken.”

He added, “All I know is this must stop – this divisiveness between our police and our citizens.”