Parents of the ex-Army reservist who fatally shot five officers during protests in Dallas last Thursday said the 25-year-old came home a changed man after serving six years in the military.
“He was very disappointed, very disappointed. But it may be that the ideal that he thought of our government, what he thought the military represented, it just didn’t live up to his expectations,” said Micah Johnson’s mother, Delphine Johnson in an exclusive interview with TheBlaze, a news network launched by conservative personality Glenn Beck in 2011.
The shooting suspect’s mother, father and stepmother sat down Sunday with TheBlaze‘s Lawrence Jones from the mother’s home in Mesquite, Texas. It was the first time the family has spoken publicly about the incident.
Delphine Johnson recalled her son Micah wanting to be a police officer as a child and said he was later “gung-ho” about joining the military. She said she witnessed her son, who was once an outgoing extrovert, turn into a “hermit” following his discharge from the United States Army in 2015.
Father James Johnson said the homecoming spurred an increased interest in African-American heritage for the veteran. The family said the army reservist never showed any visible signs of hatred toward whites — Johnson’s stepmother is white — or other racial minorities.
James Johnson broke down in tears as he told the reporter, “I don’t know what to say to anybody to make anything better. I didn’t see it coming. I love my son with all my heart. I hate what he did.”
New details have emerged about Micah Johnson’s behavior during the two-hour standoff with police. Dallas Police Chief David Brown told CNN Sunday the gunman sang and taunted officers and left messages along the walls of the parking garage written in his own blood.
Johnson also demanded to speak with a Black negotiator, Brown said.
“We had negotiated with him for about two hours, and he just basically lied to us,” the chief said, “playing games, laughing at us, singing, asking how many [police officers] did he get and that he wanted to kill some more and that there were bombs there, so there was no progress on the negotiation.”
The officers eventually used a remote-controlled, bomb-toting robot to kill the shooter, a decision Brown said was necessary to ensure the safety of his colleagues.
Brown defended the tactic Monday, saying, “This wasn’t an ethical dilemma for me. I’d do it again. I’d do it again to save our officers lives.”
The Washington Post reports 11 officers discharged their guns and two operated the explosive device in the early hours of July 8.