Memorial for Fallen San Jose Officer Set for Thursday

A public memorial will be held Thursday at SAP Center to honor the life of Michael Johnson, the San Jose police officer killed last week in the line of duty. Several local businesses will also take part in honoring Johnson’s sacrifice by donating all sales to his family.

Every cent spent at both San Jose locations of the Britannia Arms pubs will go to Johnson’s widow. The Brit will host silent auctions and BBQ lunches and dinners at both the downtown and Almaden locations. Scramblz, a diner off of Alum Rock, will donate all sales rung up from 7am to 2pm that same day to the family.

Johnson, a 14-year veteran of SJPD, was shot and killed responding to a March 24 call about a drunk man armed with a rifle. When Johnson and his partner pulled up to the condo off of Senter Road, they were met with gunfire. Johnson was hit and pronounced dead on scene. He was 38.

Police identified the shooter as 57-year-old Scott Dunham, a retired community college custodian with a history of mental illness and domestic violence. Police say he fired from the cover of an enclosed second-story balcony. Johnson’s partner, Officer Doug Potwora, fired the return shot that authorities say killed Dunham.

A memorial of flowers, candles, photos and written condolences have grown outside of the police headquarters following Johnson’s death. A series of vigils were attended by community leaders and a cohort of Johnson’s colleagues.

Johnson’s death was the first in the line of duty for SJPD in 14 years and the 12th in the agency’s 166-yar history. Twenty-four-year-old rookie Jeffrey Fontana, a member of the same academy class as Johnson, was gunned down during a traffic stop in 2001.

In a press conference after Johnson’s death, Mayor Sam Liccardo called the tragedy “San Jose’s darkest hour.”

“We are a city that is better for Officer Johnson’s selfless service,” Liccardo said Tuesday, inviting the public to attend the memorial. “I am grateful to all our men and women of the San Jose Police Department for their daily commitment to our great city.”

On Thursday, a motorcade will travel from Los Gatos and through Campbell to arrive at its destination at the SAP Center for the public memorial service. To view the procession route to and from the event Thursday, click here.

Two years ago, Santa Cruz mourned the loss of two officers at the same venue. Members of the Santa Cruz Police Department will join San Jose officers for the service, along with a host of high-profile dignitaries.

Bay Area law enforcement agencies, including the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office and the California Highway Patrol, will help San Jose with patrols and calls for service to give some of the city's officers a chance to attend the memorial for their fallen colleague.

To send a monetary donation to Johnson's family, email Joanne Segovia of the San Jose Police Officers Association at [email protected].

San Jose Inside will be covering the memorial on Twitter and Facebook.

WHAT: Public memorial for Officer Michael Johnson
WHEN: 11am Thursday
WHERE: SAP Center, 173 W. Santa Clara St., San Jose


Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. My hope is that our “Mayor,” will now do the right thing and get a plaque, statue, or some type of memorial set up at City Hall to honor the two Officers who were killed at City Hall in the 1980s up by the end of this year.

    I also hope that Officers who work swing shift tomorrow, and are being forced to go to work after the funeral, will be safe out there.

    I want to thank the Officers who stood watch over Officer Johnson since his murder. I want to thank everyone who came out to thank these Officers at Darling-Fischer Funeral home in Los Gatos. Your support means the world to them.

    I also want to thank all the Officers, dignitaries, and members of the public who participated in both vigils for Officer Johnson on Friday. I met Officer Johnson’s Mother tonight, and she is very grateful for all the support her family has received from the public.

    Rest in peace Officer Johnson. Thank you for your service. You are gone, but not forgotten.

  2. I saw several small groups of young folks and adults standing – with American flags – on the street corners along San Carlos Street today. There were no signs to tell the public what was happening. At the 99-Cent Store the clerk asked me if it was Cesar Chavez’s birthday. I told her that was a couple of days ago, and I had no idea about today’s gathering.

    How was it that these good folks devoted their morning to paying respect to the fallen officer but we common citizens had no clue why they were there?

  3. I would like to thank everyone who stood along Officer Johnson’s funeral procession holding flags, signs, and passing out flowers. Your support of Officer Johnson’s family, and law enforcement is deeply appreciated.

    Now I would like to ask you to do one more important thing: Please take a moment to send an email to the San Jose Mayor and City Council asking them to dedicate a memorial to our fallen officers at San Jose City Hall. It is vital to honor our fallen.

    You can email the Mayor and Council by going to this link for their email addresses:

    Again, thank you for your support of Officer Johnson’s family, and our men and women in law enforcement.

    May Officer Johnson rest in peace~

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