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After Shooting Spree, Cousin And Neighbors Of Micah Johnson In Disbelief

Police have identified the shooter as Micah Xavier Johnson, a 25-year-old Army veteran who lived in Mesquite. On Friday, Dallas Police Chief David Brown said Johnson was upset about recent police shootings. KERA visited Johnson’s neighborhood and spoke to neighbors there.

Micah Xavier Johnson lived in a quiet, Mesquite neighborhood in a tan, two-story brick home. On Friday though, police, news trucks and reporters were everywhere.

Many of his neighbors were either at work or didn’t want to answer their doors on this hot, July day. Kevin Giles, who was walking by, says he knew Johnson.

“That was my cousin,” Giles said. “We went to high school together. ROTC.”

Like many North Texans, Giles said he can’t believe what happened in downtown Dallas, and he doesn’t want to believe his cousin was the shooter.

Giles said he never heard his cousin talk about wanting to carry out an attack or wanting to harm someone.

“That ain’t like him. You know what I’m saying?” Giles said. “That’s ain’t like him. I mean we stay in the suburbs, so we get in some trouble out here….I don’t even think that’s him like that.”

The U.S. Army says Johnson was deployed to Afghanistan in 2013 and returned to the U.S. the following year. He served in the Army until April 2015.

To Giles, he wasn’t just an Army veteran, he also loved to play sports.

“He goofy, he smart, goofy, he like to play around, but all that serious stuff, getting down like that, that wasn’t him, so…,” Giles said.

Johnson told Dallas police in the parking garage where he was cornered that he was upset about the recent fatal police shootings of black men. That he wanted to kill white people and wanted to kill white police officers.

As police swarmed Johnson’s home, kids watched nearby. 15-year-old Seth Dorsey says the recent police shootings have been on his mind.

“We talked about the incident,” Seth said. “My parents were upset…it hurt them a little bit. It’s tough, it’s tough.”

Despite that pain, Seth’s parents tell him he should be honest with police and respect them.

Learn more

The Associated Press has more details on Johnson:

The Dallas sniper had been sent home from Afghanistan after being accused of sexually harassing a female, and was described as a loner who followed black militant groups on social media.

Micah Xavier Johnson, who fatally shot five officers and wounded seven more before police killed him with a remote-controlled bomb on Friday, lived with family members in the blue-collar suburb of Mesquite, where he played basketball for hours at a time.

Friends there said the 25-year-old black man didn't seem interested in politics, but his Facebook page suggests otherwise: He "liked" black militant groups including the African American Defense League and the New Black Panther Party, which was founded in Dallas.

Stella M. Chávez is KERA’s immigration/demographics reporter/blogger. Her journalism roots run deep: She spent a decade and a half in newspapers – including seven years at The Dallas Morning News, where she covered education and won the Livingston Award for National Reporting, which is given annually to the best journalists across the country under age 35.