Dubbed by mayor Sam Liccardo as “San Jose’s darkest hour”, the shooting and killing of a local veteran police officer was determined by a sequence of unfortunate events. The situation began with a phone call the local authorities received about a man under the influence threatening to kill himself, continued with shooting at police officers right after they reached the scene and ended in the murdering of a fourteen-year veteran of the San Jose police force Michael Johnson and the death of 57-year-old suspect Scott Dunham.
Late officer Johnson answered a call from an intoxicated and suicidal man on Tuesday and officers arrived at the apartment complex on Senter Road a little bit before 7 p.m. Suspect Scott Dunham opened fire on the police and might have been shot back.
After this incident, authorities began a full manhunt for catching the suspect, which ended early hours of Wednesday morning. The officers reportedly communicated with all people between Umbarger Road and Balfour Drive in the Senter Road area, telling them that “there is a man with a high-powered rifle who may be pointing it at you right now. You may be in the line of fire.”
Police had got into the suspect’s apartment at approximately 3:20 a.m. by the use of a robot and explosives and found the dead body of Dunham on the balcony. According to a police spokesman, Dunham had at least one gunshot wound; this could possibly be the cause of death.
The murder of police veteran Michael Johnson became a tragedy for both the community and the authorities in the San Jose area. In the 166 years of the San Jose Police Department, Johnson was the 12th officer to be killed on duty and was also the first death of this kind to happen in the last 14 years.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Officer Johnson’s family and friends. (Johnson) was tragically stuck down in the prime of his life protecting and serving the residents of San Jose. Even in this time of grief, the men and women who make up the San Jose Police Department are on the job trying to apprehend the coward who perpetrated this horrific crime and make sure no one else is harmed.” said the San Jose Police Officers Association, according to a press statement they released after the tragedy.
Photo credits: Josie Lepe / Bay Area News Group