*All names are being kept anonymous for public safety.
What began as a typical day of running early morning errands, a resident of Lumina Hollywood, the location of the suspected planned mass shooting, tells us she arrived home around 10:30 am Tuesday morning to find a SWAT team surrounding the building, the side street was blocked off with police SUVs and she was not allowed to enter. She texted tenants inside, who said they weren’t allowed to leave their units, but didn’t know what was going on. After an officer told her it would be quite a while, she then walked to a nearby shopping center and came back in the afternoon, to find the same situation, only they let her go to her apartment after questioning. Police told her that they were not leaving until they found the suspect. She asked which floor and if it were a tenant, and they confirmed that he lives on the 18th floor.
With the only information being that a man in a bulletproof vest threatened a security guard, tenants texted and called one another from their locked units, hoping for updates all night, one stating that his deadbolted front door wouldn’t stop bullets. Tenants laid in their beds Tuesday night with the usual sound of police choppers over Hollywood, but this time, they knew it was themselves that were being targeted and a possible gunman on the loose inside their building. They didn’t know the circumstances just yet.
Wednesday, local news revealed LAPD’s findings of heavy artillery, ammo, and bullet proof vests in the apartment on the 18th floor in a unit leased to Braxton Kyle Johnson, 25, Caucasian, ex-military, and Indiana native, who is also being investigated in another state for violent crime – details of which are unavailable. Tenants have been left fearing if he will be released and if anyone else could be involved.
The Sunset Boulevard-facing tower is a pet-friendly community, bustling with industry types, actors, creatives, and dogs. Lots of dogs. One attraction for new tenants is the dog park attached to the back side of Lumina, which is open to the public, bringing community from outside the building to the park, as well. ‘Roughly 30-50 dog owners, children, or people who just come to sit in the sunshine hit that park daily’, says a local resident.
Braxton Johnson’s apartment perched on the 18th floor facing the park, contained loaded rifles pointed at the park, that he’d told several tenants he could snipe, all of whose identity is kept anonymous for fear of safety, “I could easily snipe your dog at the park from my window” he told a tenant in the hallway with his dog. Another tenant was at the park with her dog the day prior to the arrest. She said that he was “Very bizarre – not like he was on drugs, just very, very weird behavior”. He told her he was there to conduct an investigation and looked toward the back of the building asking where the 5th and 18th floors were. She said he used a phony accent that seemed British turned Russian or Swedish at times. She described him as well dressed in a heavy peacoat, so she assumed he was a ‘young actor, new to town and trying to get attention in a dumb way’. Then she said she tested him by asking what the crime was he was investigating’. He asked again which one was the 18th floor and she told him to do the math. He walked on and talked to another dog owner at the park. The resident told us that the 5th floor is a community center. The 18th floor was Johnson’s rental. There is also a pool, a gym, and a media center in the building, utilized by residents.
While Johnson lived alone, a delivery person, who brings packages daily to over 100 residents in the Hollywood high-rise, recalls two weeks prior when Johnson and what appeared to be ‘friends’, not typical movers, brought in several wooden crates. He said he found it odd. It wasn’t the usual moving boxes.
“It’s different” says one tenant. “There have been choppers overhead all week. Even though he’s in jail, it’s a little unsettling to hear them now”. Other tenants are afraid to go in the gym.
With the LAPD suddenly changing their tune that there is no evidence of a mass shooting planned, residents say it’s even more worrisome. “Monterey Park had zero clue they were about to have a mass shooting and 11 lives were taken. Our building had physical evidence, verbal evidence, threats, from a person with another investigation going on, and now they walk it back. Did he need to actually murder one of us before they take it seriously?”. Locals who have been identified on camera with local news outlets could be at risk if Braxton Johnson is released.
Residents are shocked that Braxton Kyle Johnson wasn’t treated as a typical inmate, wearing street clothes, and his father, Kenny Johnson, telling authorities they are just ‘gun collectors’. LAPD are now saying that they “do not see him as a public threat”. Residents of Lumina Hollywood feel differently. With a public Pinterest account @BraxtonKyleJohnson and a Pin titled “Home Décor” Johnson has Pins for ‘Hidden Gun Storage’, and several other décor ideas how to hide things behind paintings, and such, it hardly comes across as a proud gun ‘collection’. https://www.pinterest.com/braxtonkylejohnson/
This man moved to one of the highest rent cities in the country, purchased highly expensive, unregistered artillery, and within two weeks had them pointed at a public gathering place, told people he had ‘great eyeline from his unit’, told plans of sniping and shooting people and pets, threatened individuals, showed a gun at a party, and wore a bullet proof vest the day the authorities were alerted.
LAPD suddenly walking back the claim that the fast action of the management team had successfully prevented a ‘Vegas style mass shooting’, which fits everything that Johnson has done to the tee, leaves Lumina residents shocked.