LAPD: No evidence man arrested with weapons, ammo was planning mass shooting
The man was taken into custody after he made violent threats to security staff at an apartment building and people outside
By Stefanie Dazio
LOS ANGELES — Police on Thursday said there isn't any evidence that a mass shooting was planned by a man who stockpiled guns and ammunition in his Hollywood high-rise apartment.
Braxton Johnson was taken into custody Tuesday after he allegedly made violent threats to security staff at the apartment building and people outside, police said.
Police searched Johnson's apartment on the 18th floor and found two assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines, all of which are illegal in California, as well as three semiautomatic pistols, a sniper rifle, a shotgun and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition.
Several rifles were pointed from windows toward a nearby park, the LAPD had said. Police didn't identify the park, but online maps show a dog park next to the apartment complex.
At a news conference Wednesday, police Lt. Leonid Tsap had said there was a “high chance" that officers, along with building security staff and witnesses who grabbed Johnson, had “prevented a mass shooting."
But police backtracked in a statement Thursday.
LAPD News: (UPDATE) Man Arrested for Criminal Threats pic.twitter.com/a7S7OKN9Hl— LAPD PIO (@LAPDPIO) February 3, 2023
“At this point of the investigation, there are no indications that any persons were threatened with a firearm nor have we identified any intent by Johnson to plan a mass shooting incident," the statement said. “We are working with our federal partners to exhaust all investigative leads and believe there is no threat to the public."
Police also said they had talked to Johnson's family “to provide any support services needed."
Johnson, 25, pleaded not guilty Thursday to two counts of possession of an assault weapon, one count of criminal threats and one count of solicitation of murder. He was jailed on $500,000 bail, but a judge on Thursday raised his bail to more than $1 million.
Details about the threats authorities said he made Tuesday have not been released.
The apartment's management company referred media inquiries to police.
The cache of guns and their setup in the high-rise apartment were reminiscent of a 2017 massacre in Las Vegas, where the gunman fired 1,057 bullets from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay resort in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. He killed 58 people below the hotel who were enjoying an outdoor country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip. Authorities later attributed the deaths of two more people, both of whom had been badly wounded, to the concert shooting.
Officers answered a report of a possible mental health situation Tuesday morning and went to the building on Gordon Street at Sunset Boulevard, an LAPD statement said.
Johnson, who was living alone, was unarmed when he was taken into custody but the weapons seized had "the ability to inflict a lot of damage to a lot of people,” Tsap said.
Johnson had recently moved into the apartment. He already was under investigation in a state on the East Coast for a violent crime, police said. They did not immediately share other details.
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