LAPD credits alert residents for bust of man with weapons cache
A man who allegedly made threatening comments to neighbors and staff at a Hollywood residential high-rise was charged Friday with criminal threats and possession of illegal weapons, and police credited residents with alerting authorities, leading to the discovery of an arsenal of weapons in his 18th-floor apartment.
“There is a high chance that the officers, and obviously, security staff and the people who called, prevented a mass shooting from happening,” Los Angeles Police Department Lt. Leonid Tsap told reporters.
Police, however, later said there was no immediate indication he was planning to carry out a mass shooting.
Braxton Johnson, 25, was charged Wednesday with two counts of possession of an assault weapon, one count of criminal threats and one count of solicitation of murder, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Johnson was arrested late Tuesday night, with bail set at $500,000.
The LAPD released a statement Thursday regarding the investigation and said, “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.”
“We are working with our Federal partners to exhaust all investigative leads and believe there is no threat to the public. We are also in communication with Johnson’s family to provide any support services needed,” according to the statement.
Police said they initially responded Tuesday evening to the Lumina Hollywood building at Sunset Boulevard and Gordon Street on reports of a person having some sort of mental health crisis. When officers arrived, they determined the suspect had made some threatening comments to residents and some staff members at the building.
One resident told KNX Newsradio that the man had made comments about owning weapons and noting that his 18th-floor apartment provided a prime perch for “sniping.”
Police searched Johnson’s apartment and said they recovered “several high-powered rifles, shotguns, handguns and a large cache of various munitions.” According to the District Attorney’s Office, police also recovered ballistic vests and a scope, and some of the weapons were loaded and positioned at an angle, pointing downward near a glass window and aimed at a public park below.
Tsap said Johnson was in possession of weaponry “with the ability to inflict a lot of damage to a lot of people.”
Police said they traced Johnson’s criminal history to at least one other state, where an additional investigation was ongoing. The other state or states were not disclosed.
District Attorney George Gascón in a statement also praised residents who came forward.
“Were it not for the brave actions of the witnesses in this case, this could have also been an incredible tragedy,” Gascón said. “I want to also thank the LAPD for quickly apprehending this person and potentially saving countless lives.”
Updated Feb. 3, 2023, 10:09 a.m.