The Los Angeles Police Department may have prevented a deadly mass shooting after arresting a suspicious man at a Hollywood high-rise on January 3 for making criminal threats.
Following the arrest, police discovered multiple weapons and ammunition in the residence, as well as a gun pointing out of a window toward a park.
According to the LAPD, officers responded to a possible mental illness call for a man living on the 18th floor of the Lumina Hollywood apartments at 1522 Gordon Street near Sunset Boulevard.
The man, identified as 24-year-old Braxton Johnson, was arrested after officers determined that criminal threats had been made toward apartment staff and security.
Although Braxton was not armed at the time, the threats involved the use of weapons.
Hollywood detectives then obtained a search warrant for the residence, where investigators discovered “several high-powered rifles, shotguns, handguns and a large cache of various munitions.”
Police later said that two assault rifles, a sniper rifle, a shotgun, three pistols and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition were found at the residence, along with several high-capacity magazines, scopes and two bulletproof vests.
In addition, investigators said a gun was found propped on a stand and pointing at Gordon Street Park below the apartment.
None of the weapons were legally registered to the suspect and two weapons were found to be illegal in the state of California.
Officers said the arrest “possibly prevented something of a heinous crime, like a mass shooting.”
Johnson, who has been contacted by the LAPD on previous occasions, was held on $500,000 bail.
Police say Johnson lived alone after recently moving from the East Coast, where he had a criminal history in at least one other state. That investigation is currently ongoing.
“We’re grateful to all who actually did call the police,” LAPD Lieutenant Leonid Tsap said. “That’s exactly what we need from the rest of the public. When they see something, they need to say something, and then, obviously, we as a department, we as an organization can work together with the public to protect our city.”
One resident said Johnson spoke to him earlier that week and was talking about mass shootings.
“He kept talking about mass shootings, and then at one point, he asked me, ‘I wonder how many people I can snipe through my floor,’ and he lives on the 18th floor, so in my head, I’m like ‘Oh my God, is he like planning on shooting us, or planning on shooting people at the park?’” the man said. “And then he kind of like took two steps back and made a comment like, ‘If I was the police, I would start my investigation right here.’”
Another resident told police that she called neighbors after she saw the suspect roaming the halls. She also said she witnessed Johnson make similar threats early in January.
The management of the apartment building said they emailed residents and advised them to stay in their apartments.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is reviewing the case and will determine whether to file charges.