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The Latest On Dallas Shooting Investigation

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary, in for Scott Simon. A sequence of violent events this week has caused anger and despair after two black men were killed by police and an ambush on a Dallas protest claimed the lives of five officers. Protests continued across the country last night from New York to Atlanta to Los Angeles. In a somber Dallas, the mayor says the city is now safe.

Investigators believe the shooter, who killed five police officers Thursday night wounded seven others and two civilians, acted alone. He was killed by police early Friday morning after a five-hour standoff. But a city declared safe does not mean a city that's returned to normal. NPR's Wade Goodwyn joins us now from Dallas where he's been covering this story. Good morning.

WADE GOODWYN, BYLINE: Good morning, Lynn.

NEARY: What's known about the investigation now into the attacks?

GOODWYN: Well, we're looking into Micah Johnson, who was the shooter. He grew up in Mesquite, which is a nearby working-class suburb of Dallas. And he was an Army Reservist. He served in Afghanistan. But he was in an engineer brigade, and as far as we know, didn't serve in any combat capacity, according to The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times. He left the Army after he was accused of sexual harassment. You know, even though Johnson wasn't a combat soldier, he was so tactically effective that the police were convinced initially that there were two snipers. And when law enforcement searched his house afterwards, they found, among other things, this journal he wrote about combat tactics, emphasizing shooting and moving, shooting and moving, which he certainly did during the attack.

NEARY: And we know that Johnson was cornered in a parking lot and the police were talking with him for hours before he was killed. Tell us about that standoff. What do we know?

GOODWYN: Well, I mean, he was belligerent and threatening, threatening to kill more officers, saying he put bombs around. After the negotiations soured, the police repurposed this robot and delivered a bomb, which rolled up and then killed Johnson, which is I think the first time law enforcement has killed a suspect in this way. And it may raise some questions about when this tactical push-button killing of a suspect is appropriate.

NEARY: Wade, Dallas is your home. You're not just reporting from. This is where you live. What is it like in Dallas right now?

GOODWYN: Sad, devastated, you know, I think Chief Brown has been a very affective face for the city. I was particularly taken when at a 1:30 press conference - 1:30 a.m. - the night of the murders, when the suspect was still holed up, he was asked if the Dallas police would rethink how it protects protest marchers, and he said this.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DAVID O. BROWN: Police officers are guardians of this great democracy, the freedom of - to protest, the freedom of speech, the freedom for expression. All freedoms we fight for with our lives. We are not going to let a coward who would ambush police officers change our democracy. We're not going to do it. Our city, our country, is better than that.

GOODWYN: That was a fine moment for chief and for Dallas in the middle of all this horror.

NEARY: Wade Goodwyn, speaking with us from Dallas. Thanks, Wade.

GOODWYN: You're quite welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.