The man authorities said shot and killed five Dallas officers in a sniper-style ambush earlier this month had no ‘large stockpile’ of bomb-making substances at his residence, officials have confirmed.
A search of Micah Johnson’s Mesquite, Texas, home turned up small traces of Tannerite, an explosive, and acetone, a common household solvent sometimes used as an accelerant in arson fires, two unnamed sources close to the investigation told the Associated Press Friday.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown previously said officers found enough material at the house to have “devastating effects on our city.”
“There was a large stockpile,” Brown said in a news conference on July 11. “One of the bomb techs called me at home to describe his concern of how large a stockpile of bomb-making materials he had. And according to that bomb tech, he knew what he was doing, and this wasn’t some novice.”
As the AP notes, both Tannerite and acetone are legal and readily available, with Tannerite often used by gun enthusiasts to create a more dramatic explosion while hitting targets. Tannerite is a brand name mixture of ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder.
Brown has said the 25-year-old Army veteran told negotiators he was angry about recent police shootings of African-Americans and wanted to kill white officers during the two-hour standoff on July 8.
“We’re convinced that this suspect had other plans and thought that what he was doing was righteous and believed that he was going to target law enforcement,” the chief said in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper last Sunday, “make us pay for what he sees as law enforcement’s efforts to punish people of color.”
The development came as Johnson’s fellow soldiers spoke out about the circumstances surrounding the sexual harassment allegations that led to his discharge in April 2015.
He had been accused of stealing a female comrade’s underwear while deployed in Afghanistan, a charge that left the once “goofy” extrovert, isolated and withdrawn, friends said.
Pending investigations, Johnson was separated from his unit, disarmed and accompanied by an escort 24 hours a day, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The Dallas Morning News reports friends and colleagues give conflicting accounts about the nature of Johnson’s relationship with the young woman, with some saying the two were in an intimate relationship and others saying they were just friends.
Johnson’s former squad leader told the publication rejection from his mostly white and Hispanic circle of friends led him to seek new acquaintances.
“All of his friends started unfollowing him on Facebook. They wouldn’t deal with him, they wouldn’t talk to him,” said ex-Army sergeant Gilbert Fischbach. “He started hanging out with people he usually didn’t hang out with — the Black people, honestly.”
Father James Johnson has said that Micah took up a new interest in his African-American roots when he returned home from the military. The elder Johnson told conservative news provider TheBlaze.com that the young man began studying Black history at that time.
Both parents maintained Johnson had not shown any visible signs of hatred toward whites prior to the shooting rampage during a protest march in downtown Dallas.
The night of peaceful demonstrations was inspired by the shooting deaths of two African-American men: Alton Sterling, 37, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile, 32, in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, at the hands of police officers.