LAPD: No evidence of planned mass shooting by man found with cache of weapons in Hollywood high-rise

Amy Powell Image
Friday, February 3, 2023
Man found with weapons, ammo in Hollywood home makes court appearance
Braxton Johnson was arrested after police say he stockpiled guns and ammunition in his Hollywood high-rise apartment.

HOLLYWOOD, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles police on Thursday said there isn't any evidence that a mass shooting was planned by a man who stockpiled guns and ammunition in his Hollywood high-rise apartment.

Braxton Johnson was taken into custody Tuesday in the 1500 block of Gordon Street after he allegedly made violent threats to staff at the apartment building and neighbors, police said.

The 25-year-old was arrested when he got home. Los Angeles police were there with a search warrant in hand.

Police searched the home on the 18th floor and say they found two assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines, all of which are illegal in California, as well as three semiautomatic pistols, a sniper rifle, a shotgun and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition.

RELATED: Man arrested for allegedly making 'criminal threats' in Hollywood; cache of weapons found

A man was arrested for making "criminal threats" and police say they found several high-powered weapons, some of which were loaded and pointing to a nearby park.

Several rifles were pointed from windows toward a nearby dog park, the LAPD said.

Johnson has been charged with two counts of possession of an assault weapon, one count of criminal threats and one count of solicitation of murder. He pleaded not guilty to all charges Thursday during his first court appearance.

He was jailed on $500,000 bail, but a judge on Thursday raised his bail to more than $1 million.

At a news conference Wednesday, police Lt. Leonid Tsap had said there was a "high chance" that officers, along with building security staff and witnesses who grabbed Johnson, had "prevented a mass shooting."

But police backtracked in a statement on Thursday.

"At this point of the investigation, 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," LAPD said. "We are working with our Federal partners to exhaust all investigative leads and believe there is no threat to the public."

The investigation started with calls to police from people who live and work in the apartment building, saying Johnson made "criminal threats."

An Army spokesperson confirmed Johnson served between 2016 and 2020, most recently as a specialist. He was never deployed.

Police said he has lived in two states outside of California.

Some of Johnson's neighbors are now speaking out and say they are relieved he is in custody.

Neighbor Alina Lavrova said there was something scary about Johnson, and said she felt uncomfortable around him after recently meeting him.

Another neighbor told Eyewitness the suspect pretended to be security and restricted others from going into the building.

L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón credited witnesses for reporting Johnson.

"Were it not for the brave actions of the witnesses in this case, this could have also been an incredible tragedy," Gascón's statement said. "I want to also thank the LAPD for quickly apprehending this person and potentially saving countless lives."

Braxton's next court date is scheduled for Feb. 16.

Police also said they are in communication with his family to "provide any support services needed."

His parents were in court Thursday. They did not provide any comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.