Officials give first look inside El Centro College following police ambush

- For the first time since the downtown Dallas ambush attack on police, media were allowed a look inside the college campus where the sniper suspect barricaded himself and was eventually killed by a robot.

Bullet holes in the stairwells, collapsed ceilings and shattered windows are just some of the damage still at El Centro College, where the police ambush murders ended.

The July 7 attack killed five officers and wounded seven others. Two civilians were also injured.

El Centro Police Chief Joe Hannigan showed the path Micah Johnson took as Dallas officers began returning gunfire.

Johnson spoke with two Dallas Police officers before opening fire on them. DART Officer Brent Thompson fired back, and was shot, in return.

Johnson ran to the Elm Street side of campus and shot his way in. He was hurt and left a blood trail from the doors to the stairwell.

"As soon as my officer opened the door to the stairwell, he was met with several rounds of gunfire,” said Hannigan.

Johnson then went up the stairs to the second floor through the library and into a hallway that was overlooking Elm Street, where Johnson shot windows out and shot at police.

When officers were bravely closing in, Johnson retreated down a hall to a room with computer servers. He stayed in that room for several hours, negotiating with police and shooting at them.

"He knew we were coming after him,” said Hannigan. “Dallas Police were coming after him. He knew not to stay in this place for too long."

Police evacuated the people inside the building on the floors below and above Johnson before sending in a robot with a pound of C4 to kill him.

"I thought it was a good job,” said Hannigan. “I thought it was very ingenious, and it was a smart way to end what could have been a lot worse."

Police do not believe Johnson cased the building, but do think he had to have had some familiarity with it. He took a semester of classes at Richland College, part of the Dallas County Community College District. So he would have had access to El Centro at the time and might have studied here.

The president of the college said the building will open Thursday and have plans to build a tribute to the fallen officers as well as offer counseling for students and staff.


 

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