DALLAS — Soldiers who served with cop killer Micah Johnson in the U.S. Army Reserve, both here and in Afghanistan, seem to share the same opinion.
They all describe Johnson as quiet, smart, and not temperamental or aggressive. But one of his former squad leaders says he knows for a fact that Johnson was well trained in tactical maneuvers that tragically came into play last Thursday night.
That squad leader knows because he says he was the trainer.
Former Sgt. Gilbert Fischbach, Johnson's squad leader with the 284th Engineering Company out of Seagoville, says he remembers the Army reservist as being kind of goofy yet quiet. But he says it was his job to make sure Johnson became proficient in attacking the enemy and taking out a target.
"We taught them how to protect themselves and how to move tactically, how to perform various different tactical operations in urban terrains or in convoy scenarios," Fischbach said.
And in that sense, Fischbach says Pvt. Micah Johnson was just another soldier, maybe just a bit clumsy and unmotivated.
“He just didn't seem to be all that enthused with anything tactical, with anything infantry related with anything of that nature,” Fischbach said. “... There was just not the motivation. "
Fischbach says the day after the attack, he was watching video of the attack for the first time, not knowing a man he trained was the killer.
"I can tell you, I could see his movements, how fluent they were, how well practiced and rehearsed they were,” Fischbach said. “As far as his movements, pretty spot on."
It wasn't until later on Friday that Johnson's name and picture was released. He says he's still devastated by the discovery.
"I was shocked,” said Fischbach, choking back tears. “He was a guy who received some pretty good training from myself."
Fischbach says it was his goal to train soldiers to save the lives of civilians and themselves. Never in his darkest nightmare would he envision a soldier turn his training on police.
As for Johnson's possible motivation, Fischbach says he remembers him as someone who got along well with whites, but he speculates it was an allegation of sexual misconduct while on duty in Afghanistan that may have sent Johnson into an emotional spiral.