Police: Actually, No Evidence We Headed Off Mass Shooting

LA officers backtrack after finding guns, ammunition in apartment overlooking park
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 2, 2023 5:50 PM CST
Updated Feb 3, 2023 12:46 AM CST
Mass Shooting in Hollywood May Have Been Planned: Police
Los Angeles police display guns and ammunition they said they found in an apartment this week.   (Los Angeles Police Department via AP)
UPDATE Feb 3, 2023 12:46 AM CST

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 and 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. At a news conference Wednesday, police Lt. Leonid Tsap said there was a “high chance" that a mass shooting had been prevented. But police backtracked Thursday. “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," the AP reports.

Feb 2, 2023 5:50 PM CST

A "high chance" of a mass shooting in Hollywood was thwarted Tuesday by officers seizing a cache of guns and ammunition in a high-rise apartment where several rifles were pointed toward a nearby park, the Los Angeles Police Department said. Braxton Johnson was taken into custody Tuesday after making violent threats involving weapons to security staff at the apartment building and people outside, the agency said the following day. He has not been charged, the AP reports. A search of Johnson's apartment turned up two assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines, all of which are illegal in California, as well as three handguns, a sniper rifle, a shotgun, and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, police said.

Investigators have not said whether they uncovered any additional evidence of a plot to target the park, or what the motive would have been in pointing the rifles toward the area. Details about the threats they said he made have also not been released. "From what we’re seeing right now, there's a high chance that the officers—and obviously security staff and the people who called—prevented a mass shooting from happening," police Lt. Leonid Tsap said Wednesday during a news conference. Authorities have not identified the park, but online maps show a dog park next to the apartment complex where the suspect lived.

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Johnson, 25, was arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats, and he remained jailed Thursday on $500,000 bail. It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney. The district attorney's office is reviewing the case for potential charges. 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 was living alone in an apartment building on the 18th floor, Tsap said. Johnson had recently moved into the apartment.

(More Los Angeles stories.)

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