A man living in Los Angeles is facing weapons charges after police discovered a cache of guns inside his apartment — some of which were “staged” near a window “facing a public area.”
Braxton Kyle Johnson, 25, was arrested Tuesday after neighbors said he threatened them, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement.
Hollywood patrol officers had responded to what the police described as a “possible male with mental illness call.”
“During the course of their investigation, it was determined the elements of Criminal Threats had been met,” the statement said. “With the assistance of Hollywood Detectives, search and arrest warrants were obtained.”
According to the LA County District Attorney’s Office, the search revealed a stash of weapons and what looked to be possible preparations to carry out a mass shooting.
“[A]uthorities found several high-powered weapons during a search at the defendant’s high-rise apartment building in Hollywood,” the DA’s office said in a statement Thursday. “They found rifles magazines with high caliber ammo, a shotgun, loaded pistols, ballistic vests and a scope. Some of those weapons were allegedly loaded and staged at an [angle] near a glass window facing a public area.”
Also on Thursday, the LAPD said in a statement that “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 added that police are in contact with Johnson’s family to “provide any support services needed.”
The Los Angeles Times reported that Johnson had been bragging about his weapons and saying that the CIA was watching him. Residents who called police reportedly said that Johnson had been making bizarre threats against them and security staff at the high-rise apartment building where they lived.
In one conversation, according to the LA Times, Johnson allegedly asked a woman if she had anyone who needed killing.
One unnamed neighbor who spoke to the newspaper said that she had an encounter with Johnson at a nearby dog park on Monday. She reportedly said that he spoke to her in a strange accent, told her he was “conducting an investigation,” and asked where the various floors of the 22-story high-rise apartment building were.
“He was in a pea coat with slicked-back hair,” the neighbor told the newspaper. She said that Johnson then approached another dog owner and spoke to them in a different accent. She added that she thought he might have been an actor.
A resident of the building reportedly told police that Johnson had said his 18th-floor apartment was good for “sniping,” the LA Times also reported.
“The suspect was located on the 18th floor of an apartment building with large windows with a view, with a non-obstructed view of a public park, downstairs, and some of the rifles were pointed outside of the windows,” LAPD Lt. Leon Tsap said, describing a setup disturbingly familiar to other recent mass shooting attacks.
“Los Angeles County is still reeling over the tragic mass shooting in Monterey Park,” Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón said in a press release, referring to the late-January massacre at a dance hall in a neighborhood largely populated by Asian immigrants. “Were it not for the brave actions of the witnesses in this case this could have also been an incredible tragedy. I want to also thank the LAPD for quickly apprehending this person and potentially saving countless lives.”
Gascón reiterated his support for a nationwide ban on assault rifles.
“California laws are insufficient to protect us when military-grade assault rifles are readily available in our neighboring states,” he said.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office records indicate that Johnson is being held on $500,000 bail.
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