Micah Johnson, the Army reservist who shot and killed five Dallas police officers in an ambush last month, showed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder after returning to the U.S. from Afghanistan in 2014, the Associated Press reports.
According to the newly released documents from the Veterans Health Administration, Johnson sought treatment for anxiety, depression and hallucinations, telling doctors that he had nightmares after seeing fellow soldiers being blown in half. He also said that he heard voices and mortars exploding, the documents—which AP obtained under the Freedom of Information Act—detailed.
"I try to block those out, but it is kinda hard to forget," Johnson told his doctor, according to the documents.
AP reports that during his deployment, Johnson was mostly confined to a base in an area in Afghanistan that had seen a lot of combat but had been relatively quiet when his unit arrived in November 2013.
Once he returned to the U.S., Johnson told doctors that he was having panic attacks a few times a week, including once while at a Wal-Mart. The Wal-Mart incident escalated into an unspecified conflict that required police response, documents note.
Following the Wal-Mart incident, Johnson said he began to physically shake, felt short of breath and got the chills.
"Veteran states hearing all the noises, fights and police intervening caused him to have palpitations, 'My heart felt like someone was pinching it while it was beating fast,’” the records indicate.
Johnson also complained of lower back pain and said that he was avoiding "crowds of people, and when in the public, scanning the area for danger, noting all the exits, everyone's actions."
"I feel like I can't trust all of these strangers around me," Johnson told his doctor, according to the report. "It's hard for me to be around other people and I am so angry and irritable."
Johnson had also taken to drinking since returning home, taking three to four shots of vodka up to three times a week, according to the report.
Ultimately, doctors concluded that Johnson was "not acutely at risk for harm to self or others," and that the patient was "not felt to be psychotic by presentation or by observation."
Johnson was prescribed a muscle relaxant, an antidepressant and anti-anxiety and sleep medication. A nurse also offered tips on how to manage anger, according to records.
He saw a psychiatrist and was evaluated again for PTSD symptoms in September 2014, and the doctor found that his mood was "better."
About a month later, when providers called on Johnson, he asked to put off any further evaluation for PTSD, saying that he was busy remodeling his mother's house. As AP reports, Johnson had told providers before that he wanted to find a job in construction and that his long-term goal was to become a self-defense instructor.
Read more at the Los Angeles Times.