Veterans Administration records show that an Army reservist who killed five Dallas police officers at a protest march last month had showed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder when he returned from Afghanistan in 2014.
Micah X. Johnson told VA workers that sounds of mortar explosions went off in his head and that he was suffering from paranoia, insomnia and panic attacks, the Dallas Morning News reported, based on documents released under the Freedom of Information Act.
“I feel stress, anger, road rage, my heart feels like someone is pinching it,” said Johnson, according to records taken by the Dallas VA in August 2014.
“I feel like I can’t trust all of these strangers around me,” Johnson told his doctor, who noted that he had taken to drinking since his return to Dallas, consuming three to four shots of vodka up to three times a week. “It’s hard for me to be around other people and I am so angry and irritable.”
Johnson, 25, began shooting during a peaceful demonstration against police violence in Minnesota and Louisiana on July 7, specifically targeting police officers. Five were killed and seven other officers, plus two civilians were wounded. Johnson took several tactical positions to execute his assault until he was cornered in a parking garage and killed by a bomb deploying robot.
According to the records an evaluation showed that he had signs of PTSD and noted that he was taking anti-depression and anti-anxiety medications. However, he said that he was not “homicidal or suicidal” and was not prescribed anti-psychotic drugs.
Johnson was “not acutely at risk for harm to self or others,” according to a medical record from a visit on Aug. 15, 2014. The patient was “not felt to be psychotic by presentation or by observation.”
Johnson’s mother, Delphene Johnson, has said her son sought medical care from the VA for a back injury but got no help after filling out forms and going to meetings. He “just finally gave up,” she told TheBlaze, a news site founded by conservative talk show host Glenn Beck.
But Johnson did get information about a PTSD class and was referred to a veterans center in Mesquite, Tex., where he lived with his mother, the Morning News said. But in October 2014, he put in a request to delay a PTSD assessment, saying that he was busy remodeling his mother’s home. He was scheduled for an appointment the next month, but did not show up. The records are unclear about what happened afterward.
Dallas VA spokesman Ozzie Garza did not immediately respond to questions regarding Johnson’s treatment within the VA North Texas Health Care System, the second largest VA health care system in the country, according to the Associated Press.
The mother of Gavin Long, the former Marine and Iraq war veteran who killed three law enforcement officers July 17 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, told PBS’ Tavis Smiley that her son had post-traumatic stress disorder and unsuccessfully sought the VA’s help.