Micah Johnson, the military veteran accused in the shooting deaths of five Dallas police officers in early July, admitted to Veterans Affairs staff in 2014 that he suffered from signs of post-traumatic stress disorder after returning from Afghanistan.
The Dallas Morning News reports that Veterans Affairs released Johnson’s medical records in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. The records cover a three-month period, from July to October 2014, when he received counseling at the Dallas VA Medical center.
Johnson told doctors he suffered from insomnia, paranoia, and panic attacks. “I feel stress, anger, road rage, my heart feels like someone is pinching it,” he said, according to the records. Doctors prescribed Johnson anti-anxiety and anti-depression medication.
He said playing his favorite video game, Call of Duty, triggered real emotion. “The battle cries, shooting and mortar strikes disturbed me,” Johnson stated. “I started panicking. I had to shut off the game and go outside for a while to calm myself down.”
The records also show that Johnson denied experiencing any suicidal or homicidal thoughts and was not on any anti-psychotic meds.
Experts say Johnson’s medical path is the determining factor in comprehending his mindset on the fateful night of July 7, when he opened fire at a peaceful anti-police brutality rally.
Records show that Johnson was referred to a PTSD class at a veterans affairs center near his mother’s home in Mesquite, Texas. According to The Dallas Morning News, the record states that Johnson asked for a delay in treatment due to his schedule in October of 2014, but never attended further treatment afterwards.
His family was unavailable for comment, according to the News.
Johnson told doctors that his anxiety triggered in Afghanistan and that while stationed, he experienced problems sleeping through the night.
He was part of a carpeting and engineering brigade on a base that received daily mortar fire. Johnson said after he saw one soldier blown in half and another shot dead in the chest, he could not block the images from his mind.
Resigned that he would feel better once he returned home, his medical records proved otherwise. Johnson told VA staff that he had a panic attack one night out with friends and ended the evening early.
“It’s not common for everyone to come back with PTSD, but for the 15 to 20 percent who come back with PTSD, this is exactly the behaviors and symptoms they would show,” retired Army Col. Carl Castro, a University of Southern California psychologist, told the Morning News.
According to records, Johnson admitted that his parents’ divorce was stressful and an answer to a question regarding sexual, physical, and emotional trauma during his adolescence was blacked out, according to the Morning News.
The Morning News says a police report from 2011, when Johnson was enlisted in the Army reserves, showed he entered a Mesquite police station and acted erratically, “visibly bouncing from side to side.” The report notes that he was upset after a female friend lied to him.
Johnson was sent home from Afghanistan after a fellow female officer and close friend accused him of stealing her underwear and filed a sexual harassment suit against him. An internal investigation said the theft was not ruled as sexual harassment, but confirmed Johnson made disturbing Facebook posts and messages.
SOURCE: The Dallas Morning News | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty