The shooter responsible for killing five police officers and injuring several civilians in Dallas last week bought an assault rifle from a private seller on Facebook in 2014.
Law enforcement agencies got in touch with the seller, Colton Crews, 26, after raiding Micah Johnson’s home in Mesquite, Texas, as part of their investigation.
Johnson, 25, had fired at police officers from the upper levels of a downtown Dallas parking garage using an assault rifle and handgun during a Black Lives Matter rally. Police later cornered Johnson and used a robot to detonate a bomb next to him, killing him.
Crews claims that he asked a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent whether it was his AK-47, sold to Johnson two years prior, that was used in the Dallas shooting.
“He said, ‘All we can say is it was recovered. We’re just finding out everything we can,’” Crews told the New York Daily News. “He didn’t say it was the one he used. I hope to God it wasn’t. I hope I’m not that close to all this.”
Facebook’s growing concerns over the use of its social network by gun owners to circumvent background checks when selling weapons resulted in a complete ban on private gun sales on its platform in January.
At the time, Facebook’s head of product policy, Monika Bickert, said the following: “Over the last two years, more and more people have been using Facebook to discover products and to buy and sell things to one another. We are continuing to develop, test and launch new products to make this experience even better for people and are updating our regulated goods policies to reflect this evolution.”
Crews claims that he had no hesitations about Johnson, an ex-Army reservist, when selling him the weapon. The transaction reportedly took place in the parking lot of a Target store, with Crews stating that he had previously performed a quick online check on his customer. Texas law does not require private sellers, who are not licensed gun dealers, to perform background checks on prospective buyers.
“He didn’t stand out as a nut job. He didn’t stand out as a crazy person at all,” Crews said. “He stood out as just another guy. And he was U.S. service, so he was like your first pick when you’re selling a gun to somebody.”
In the wake of the deadly Dallas shootings, a memorial service was held on Tuesday for the five police officers that were killed during the ambush.