SJPD Officer Shot, Killed

This story has been updated. —Editor

San Jose police identified the officer killed Tuesday night as 38-year-old Michael Johnson, a 14-year veteran of the force and the 12th cop in the city's history to be killed in the line of duty.

Johnson was shot to death responding to a call about a suicidal man with access to a high-power rifle and two handguns. When police arrived at the Senter Road apartment, they were met with gunfire. Johnson was struck and pronounced dead on scene.

After a drawn-out standoff and sweeping manhunt, a SWAT team breached through a wall of the apartment around 3:30am Wednesday. They found the shooter, 57-year-old Scott Dunham, slumped over on his balcony, dead from at least one bullet. It wasn't immediately clear whether he shot himself or died when officers fired back earlier in the night.

A procession of police cruisers followed with lights flashing as Officer Johnson's body was escorted away from the scene just before dawn.

During the standoff, SJPD ordered a shelter-in-place for residents and enlisting aid from several local police agencies. A helicopter, armored vehicles, SWAT teams and dozens of cops flooded the scene.

News of the officer's death spread quickly across Twitter.

Just before 7pm, according to scanner reports, officers responded to a 9-1-1 call about a possibly drunk man threatening to shoot himself and his wife. Police released a mugshot of the suspect hours into their search.

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 11.12.53 PM

Scott Dunham, 57 years old.

Dunham's wife left the apartment and called one of her children, who called the police, reporting that the suspect was despondent, intoxicated and had access to firearms.

When officers closed in on the man's apartment on the 2600 block of Senter Road in south San Jose, he opened fire. The wife said that in addition to the high-power rifle, her husband carried two 9mm handguns.

"The initial information that we had was that he was despondent, that he had a gun and that there was some mention about him wanting to kill himself," SJPD spokesman Officer Albert Morales told reporters early Wednesday. "Those are details that investigators are going over with his family members. This is going to take sometime to work through."

The slain officer's name was not immediately released.

The last time SJPD lost an officer in the line of duty was in 2001, when 24-year-old rookie Jeffrey Fontana was gunned down during a traffic stop. Johnson and Fontana reportedly attended the same academy.

When reports of Tuesday's shooting reached City Hall, the City Council adjourned to hear from SJPD Chief Larry Esquivel, who said the officer was a 12-year veteran of the department.

Mayor Sam Liccardo released the following statement:

“This is San Jose's darkest day. My heart—and the prayers of a grieving city—go out to the family of the San Jose police officer fatally shot. Every officer leaving their home wearing a badge and uniform prepares for the worst, but leaves a spouse and family who prays for her or his safe return. The officer served our community with distinction, courage, and honor, and we owe their family our deepest debt.

"Upon learning of this tragedy, I immediately adjourned the council meeting, as my colleagues shared our shock and profound grief over this tragedy. We cannot know the depth of the pain felt by the officer’s family and his fellow officers, but we share in their mourning and offer the comfort of a bereaved community that is better for the officer’s selfless service.”

The San Jose Police Officers Association released its own statement Wednesday morning, referring to Johnson as "our fallen brother."

"The men and women who make up the San Jose Police Officers' Association are grieving the loss of one of our brothers, Police Officer Michael Johnson, a 14-year veteran, who was murdered last night while responding to a 911 call," the statement reads. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to Officer Johnson's family and friends. Officer Johnson was tragically struck down in the prime of his life while protecting and serving the residents of San Jose.

"Even during this time of grief and sorrow the men and women who make up the San Jose Police Department did their jobs last night and ensured that the community was protected and that the coward who perpetrated this horrific crime did not harm anyone else.

"The SJPOA is overwhelmed by the amount of good wishes and outpouring of sympathy pouring in from our fellow law enforcement brothers and sisters throughout the country. We also owe a debt of gratitude to our local law enforcement family who deployed officers and sheriff deputies to assist during this unmitigated tragedy. Their selflessness honored the spirit of our fallen brother, Officer Michael Johnson. "

Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen expressed his sympathy for Johnson's bereaved family and colleagues.

"The daily risks and sacrifices of our police officers are bluntly measured by these sad and tragic days," Rosen wrote. "Michael Johnson lost his life, a life spent protecting ours, trying to help someone who had lost the value of his own. I hope today we will all take a moment to honor the value of this valiant officer’s life. I speak for every member of the District Attorney’s Office when I offer our deepest gratitude for Officer Johnson’s service, and our deepest condolences to his loved ones and fellow officers. We offer our prayers and our gratitude for the sacrifices that all the men and women of this fine department make every shift to protect us all."

As the news broke Tuesday night, people from across the country took to social media to offer condolences for the officer and his or her family.

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


  1. My thoughts and prayers go out to this Officer’s family. May this Officer rest in peace. All you Officers out there: PLEASE stay SAFE out there! Thank you for your service.

  2. This just gets me angry.

    I didn’t vote for measure B. I didn’t vote to have officers leave. I didn’t vote for more people, more stress on our resources.

    SJPD and the SJPOA have been fairly prophetic in the consequences of measure B. I never supported it, I never claimed to support it. Yes, there are things that need changing in the SJPD. There are needs for a vetting process against bad apples, but you don’t punish the 99% of good apples for the 1% of bad.

    This is such a basic rule. You don’t send 99% of your fruit that could be sold as fresh to the canneries because 1% got moldy.

    Time for some tough challenges. We need to repeal measure B.

      • When is the time? When another officer gets shot? When more thugs take over our streets? After the funeral? You live in a world of watching every word you say, and carefully timing when its said. I don’t… It needs to be said. It needs to be done.

      • One, kudos to Kathleen, as she said the right thing first off, we ought to pray and do everything we can for the officer’s family and his colleagues. Number one statement, number one thought

        I don’t care about measure b, or canneries, or fruit, or someone wanting to make himself the issue for 9,089th time on San Jose Inside.

        We care about what Kathleen said. We ought to care about that.

        Someone who thinks our city is his personal issues shows a lot, actually shows a lack of class.

        Kathleen, what can we do for the officer, the other officers, and their families, please tell us.

        • I don’t care about measure b, or canneries, or fruit, or someone wanting to make himself the issue for 9,089th time on San Jose Inside.

          Now is not your time for your personal vendettas against me. YOU have some class. YOU have some sympathy for the officers still alive out there that know that one of their brothers has fallen, because we cut out the gang suppression, the burglary and other units within the SJPD that kept this crime wave at bay.

          I already said my prayers.

          • NOT ROBERT Mar 25, 2015 @ 6:51 am
            SHUT UP ROBERT.
            This isn’t the time for your soap boxing.

            JOUTSIDETHEBUBBLE Mar 25, 2015 @ 9:31 am
            > This just gets me angry.
            > I didn’t vote for measure B
            The shooting had nothing to do with Measure B.

            wow, I guess others think so, too

            KATHLEEN Mar 24, 2015 @ 11:30 pm
            My thoughts and prayers go out to this Officer’s family. May this Officer rest in peace. All you Officers out there: PLEASE stay SAFE out there! Thank you for your service.

            This is such a basic rule. You don’t send 99% of your fruit that could be sold as fresh to the canneries because 1% got moldy.

            just asked Kathleen what should be done, because she seems, rightly so, to care

          • This has nothing to go with gangs, burglaries, and any other units or lack of police. This is about outstanding police officers going into harms way. He knew the risk about protecting you and all San Jose citizens.

            He as all officers put their lives in risk every day they put on the uniform. They deal with crazy people every day. And this one person decided to kill an officer. Lets not place blame on the city but just respect this fallen hero, his family and all officers.

        • Lionel Peterson: Thank you for the kind words. You asked,” What can we do for the officer, the other officers, and their families?”

          I have some suggestions that I’d like to share:
          1.) When ever I see an Officer, Deputy Sheriff, or any member of law enforcement, I thank them for their service and ask them to be safe out there. I tell them that I appreciate them for putting their lives on the line for me everyday.
          2.) Send an email to the SJ Police Chief letting him know you are sorry for their loss and want them to be safe out there.
          3.) Take a stand against the demonization of our public servants. Whenever you see a news story bashing our public safety servants, speak up!
          4.) Write the SJ Mayor and Council and demand that THEY stop politicking and work with the SJPOA to end this war! You can find their email address by going to this link :
          5.) I have put together a prayer vigil for THIS Friday evening, at San Jose City Hall, outside in the courtyard by the Rotunda, 8:00pm. Please attend and and help us get the word out.
          6.) If you have a Facebook, please change your profile photo with a black background with a blue line on it, or to a SJPD badge with a black line across it to show solidarity.
          7.) You can donate to the SJPOA so that they can use the funds to help the family. Their link is:
          8.) You can purchase an ornament for a Fallen Officer for the Fallen Officer’s Tree. Their website is: The ornaments are given to the families after the tree comes down in Jan.

          Thank you for asking.

          • Kathleen those news stories “bashing our public safety servants” are sometimes called for. Please quit acting like all cops are good and heroes. Like it or not there are plenty of bad apples!

      • I was thinking the exact same thing last night when I read Roberts comment. Get off your soap box, Nobody cares who or what you voted for. Someone is not returning home to their family. Nobody wants to listen to you.

    • > This just gets me angry.

      > I didn’t vote for measure B

      The shooting had nothing to do with Measure B.

      The shooter did not know or care about Measure B, or the officer’s pay or benefits, or terms of his retirement, or his pension, or his service record.

      The shooter was a mentally ill drunk, probably a creation of the public education system, and a culture of endless social and media mendacity and heroic victimhood.

      • SJO thanks for being civil like always.

        Maybe he didn’t know about measure B, et. al. but the lack of policing due to cuts meant he was free to roam the streets. The cutbacks due to Measure B, meant that parks an Rec programs, gang diversion programs, community policing programs.. All the things that were most effective in keeping down criminal activity could no longer be maintained.. Again, thanks for civilly disagreeing.

        • Cousin Cortese: Please explain how things would have changed with this lone alcoholic nutball with guns if there were no measure B, if “parks an Rec programs, gang diversion programs, community policing programs” had not been cut back. Do you seriously contend that had there been no staff reductions in the SJPD this crazy man would not have been “free to roam the streets?” How would a larger police force have kept this nutball off the streets, or more to the point, off his balcony with a bottle of booze and wielding a weapon? Which Park and Rec program would this nutball have attended to get him to stop drinking and turn in his guns at a buy back program? This was a random act of violence by a deranged, drunk, depressed soul.

      • see down at the bottom. kathleen wrote a very informative piece about where to go to help. Kathleen began this piece about the officer, and she has the right attitude. We all know Mr. Frequent Poster has one agenda, his own

    • “I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide…”

  3. It is very sad to lose a San Jose Officer who risked his life to help others. My thoughts go out to his personal and police family.

    Earlier this day, Norberto Duenas, our current City Manager, sent an email to employees saying that Mayor Sam Liccardo sent a letter to bargaining units two weeks ago outlining the City’s commitment to make any and all reasonable efforts to reach and implement a settlement this year.

    In response, the bargaining units have agreed to meet with the City in the goal of resolving Measure B issues over the next several months, and the first meetings will take place this week. This is an important milestone in the settlement process, and the Mayor hopes that they can work together to find solutions that will allow us all to move forward.

    I really hope there is progress. Times have been challenging for not only City employees but the community. I am hopeful that the City and unions can work together or find a win win solution. I want to think about what is possible versus what has not been possible in the past.

  4. I knew this would happen again. An officer always have to die for people to wake up. Another bad decision by Mayor Reed, who endorsed the current mayor. Reed lied to the people during the revision and they fell for it. Reed gone now, riding into the sunset, leaving his destruction behind for others to suffer.

    • Lynn you are naive and pathetic. To put the actions of one nutjob on the Mayor is childish. I really hope and pray you arent in a position of real responsibility, because you appear to lack the maturity to see this situation for what it actually is. My prayers for the Officer’s family, may he rest in peace far away from those trying to politicize everything.

  5. As a member of the CAB for pd and having many friends now on the force having worked with them so closely… this saddens me and hopefully this is the awakening to our city leaders to bring the force back to its safe numbers so we do not have to read or hear about disasters like this. Time to listen and come to the table and erase the line in the sand. To the officers family I am so sorry.
    Bob Sippel
    Member CAB and Community leader.

  6. How do we thank Michael Johnson for his service and sacrifice? Do we thank him by offering condolences, making him front page news, and honoring him with an elaborate funeral?

    No matter that society has learned to excel at expressing its gratitude for its dead heroes, the hard truth is that posthumous thanks are a fantasy created to remind and/or deceive ourselves that we are grateful for the service and sacrifice of those who put themselves at risk on our behalf, be they cops, firefighters, or soldiers. The hard truth is that, for Michael Johnson, it is too late to feel thanked, too late to feel honored, too late to enjoy that spirit-lifting pleasure of being appreciated by the people you serve.

    It aggravates me greatly that I couldn’t help but react to the news of this brave officer’s sacrifice without thinking about how little thanks he received while alive. Other than the appreciation of his coworkers and the occasional thank you from a decent and grateful citizen, there can be little doubt that what was conveyed to Michael Johnson from his city — especially its newspaper and elected leaders, was not appreciation but the exact opposite: ingratitude, disdain, contempt.

    In a profession which exposes one daily to the darkest side of human nature Michael Johnson was rewarded for his service with the darkest side of power politics. In his fourteen year career, one that included the coldblooded murder of his young academy-mate in his rookie year, Officer Johnson saw his gross pay cut, his take-home pay gutted, his retirement threatened, his department’s esteem insulted by the mayor, and his profession subjected to the unsubstantiated insults of race-baiters ranging from the self-aggrandizing police auditor Cordell, to the two-faced mayoral candidate Liccardo, to that disgrace of an attorney general Eric Holder.

    The inescapable reality is that police officers will be killed in the line of duty, a reality they know and live daily, just as they know that labor discord and political dustups are sometimes unavoidable. But what they don’t know and can’t live with is to be insulted and disrespected by those speaking for the public they protect and serve. That is simply something that can never be justified in the treatment of people who put their lives on the line every single day.

    As a citizen of this city I, of course, mourn the loss of this brave young police officer who paid his profession’s ultimate price, but I also mourn the fact that he paid that price in service to a city whose actions towards him and his peers — cold, calculated actions that were felt deeply by every officer, has been nothing short of disgraceful.

    • > Officer Johnson saw his gross pay cut, his take-home pay gutted, his retirement threatened, his department’s esteem insulted by the mayor, …

      Again, Officer Johnson was killed by a mentally ill drunk who absorbed a lifetime of public and media mendacity, runaway social pathology, and cultural rot.

      Any officer could have experienced the same fate regardless of pay, or benefits, or promised future pension, or the passage or non-passage of Measure B.

      There are times and places to make your political points. This isn’t one of them.

      • To the likely surprise of no one, you completely missed Finfan’s point. I will, however, give you credit for remaining true to yourself by not attempting to feign any concern for what happened.

        • > This being a time and place disadvantageous to your political position …

          If you think a police officer’s death is the right time to lobby for a pay raise and a pension better than 90 percent of American workers, you are one cold-hearted, cynical MF.

          The death of a police officer isn’t a tragedy for you, it’s just more money grubbing political narrative.

          So, how much money do you want for you to allow the community to have a focused and respectful remembrance for Officer Johnson without your crass political tub thumping? What would it take to make you go away?

          A hundred dollars? Ten thousand dollars? Enough money to triple the retirement pensions and benefits of every cop whoever served in San Jose.

          Name your price, greed bag. Tell us what it’s going to take to make you happy.

          • Stop moralizing. “Political tub thumping” is your specialty. You dish out wrongheaded economics to preach against public pensions all the time, with no regard for what is right, fair or just – or even what constitutes a breach of promises. You are not, generally speaking, some voice for community building. If you want to mourn this terrible tragedy, believe me – I am right there with you. But don’t lecture others on when they can and cannot talk about the preexisting divisions between this community and its law enforcement officers. And for now, I will ignore your use of profanity.

          • <"If you think a police officer’s death is the right time to lobby for a pay raise and a pension better than 90 percent of American workers, you are one cold-hearted, cynical MF"

            Well, you happened to squeeze off a political barb yourself.

            The point is not that this nut-job killed a Police Officer, and that every Police Officer, Firefighter and Safety person took a massive paycut and decline in benefits. On the contrary….they continue to put their lives on the line, protect the citizenry, and show up for work in a professional capacity DESPITE the massive reduction in pay and benefits the elected politicians and THE PUBLIC (meaning you) imposed on them..
            We should RIGHTLY and ADEQUATELY compensate them for the risks of the job. This tragedy illustrates that point.
            Do you get it now?


            I won’t insult your intelligence by suggesting that either of you really believes what you just said or were trying to be taken seriously.

            An SJPD officer is someone who puts on that uniform, goes out each day and writes a blank check, made payable to the “Residents of San Jose”, in the amount of “Everything up to and including my life”. It is our honor and our privilege to serve our community, even knowing that at any time fate may, by violence, foreclose on our account. When cops talk about someone paying “the ultimate price” there is steel in the use of that term. It is not some flowery, political rhetoric.

            An SJPD officer does not cut his service to the community by 10% or pass a ballot measure that reduces the quality of protection that he provides, even after receiving such treatment from his employer. An SJPD officer would rather ignore politics if only politics would ignore him or her. This is something that too many people at City Hall, in the general public, and even on this blog site seem no longer able to understand.

            SANJOSEOUTSIDETHEBUBBLE and MAGGIE LEE, maybe you can tell me; What answer would you give to the child of a fallen officer when, in a few years from now, that kid comes up to you at the POA Hall and asks, “Did you know my dad? Were you his friend? Can you tell me a story about my dad? I miss him. He was a policeman just like you” I’m as certain that FINFAN would know what answers to give, just as I am certain that both of you would not.

            Mr. SANJOSEOUTSIDETHEBUBBLE, you asked, “…greed bag. Tell us what it’s going to take to make you happy?”

            The answer is: Nothing. Nothing can bring that man back. Nothing can replace the honor, integrity, and selflessness that was within him. We have lost a brother officer. His family has lost a husband and a father. Rather than carping on FINFAN maybe you should ask him what it feels like to lose a colleague to criminal violence. He would know and he would tell you that he hopes you never do.

  7. Please join Star of David Ministries and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Association for a peaceful prayer vigil, THIS Friday evening, 3/27/2015, at 8:00pm, at San Jose City Hall, outside in the courtyard near the Rotunda, to honor and remember Officer Michael Johnson.
    We have suffered a very devastating loss to our community, and we need to show Officer Johnson’s family and the SJPD that we support them. Please join us in coming together to support his family and our SJPD Police force. Thank you.
    For more information please contact Kathleen Flynn, President of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Association at [email protected], or call 408-861-5323. Thank you and we look forward to seeing you there.
    To our SJPD: Thank you for your service and please be safe out there!

        • Josh/Dan/Jen.

          Your own comment policy says;

          We will not publish comments that deride a person or group of people for their physical characteristics, and we will not post comments from “cyberbullies.”

          What’s your take on this? I try to participate in the site as much as possible, because I *think* that’s why it exists. Am I mistaken? Is commenting here limited to only those in the “Elite” circles?

          Please respond, I’m getting tired of these attacks.

          • what did I tell you, an column about people making a difference got reduced to, I am being picked on, now he is at the vp office asking for “justice!”

            Retired, what elite circle are you in?

            ps, did the clock stop on the “automation assignment board?” only at 253 pm, nice hours

          • Bob this is not an attack, just do not want people to show up tonight when I will be there Friday 3/27/15 at 8 PM to honor a respected officer who died in the line of duty.

          • Amen, can we just respect the fallen officer who protected us every day, And pay respect to his family. God Bless him all others that serve.

  8. I pray for the family, friends, and coworkers of Officer Johnson and for all of us, the Citizens of this City for the loss of this man of courage who responded to a call for help from a member of our community and lost his life in his quest to aid and protect his community. I thank you for your sevice and sacrifice Officer Johnson and pray for the safety and healing of your loved ones and fellow comrades.

  9. As retired employees’ from the City of San Jose, Our family wishes the deepest sympathy and condolence’s for the fallen officer’s family & friends. INTEGRITY, LOYALTY & BROTHERHOOD ~ RIP

  10. “How do we thank Michael Johnson for his service and sacrifice? Do we thank him by offering condolences, making him front page news, and honoring him with an elaborate funeral?”

    this was from finfan

    retired and others simply reminded this fellow who has been reduced to “poor me commentary” which is his most common reaction, there are a ton of posts where after a while (and retired has made the point, it seems he has a lot of time to dominate this blog,) and we have to wonder how productive he really is. i do not of him, simply that he seems to be an expert of every issue, especially how he is needed to solve them.

    “I didn’t vote for measure B. I didn’t vote to have officers leave. I didn’t vote for more people, more stress on our resources.
    SJPD and the SJPOA have been fairly prophetic in the consequences of measure B. I never supported it, I never claimed to support it. Yes, there are things that need changing in the SJPD. There are needs for a vetting process against bad apples, but you don’t punish the 99% of good apples for the 1% of bad.
    This is such a basic rule. You don’t send 99% of your fruit that could be sold as fresh to the canneries because 1% got moldy.
    Time for some tough challenges. We need to repeal measure B.”

    nowhere was there mention of the tragic circumstances

    Finfan began it that way

    now we see this almost rambling desire to say anything he wants, which Retired seems to point out well.

    How about we require the thesis sentence or topic sentence be on the issue of the post, and then can we limit these posts too two a day.

    at least for working individuals

  11. It’s unfortunate that many of these posts are off topic. My thoughts and prayers go out to Officer Johnson’s family and to all of SJPD. The officers and civilians of SJPD work hard every day to protect us. Thank you for your service.

  12. Mrs. Johnson and your children, There is little any one but yourselves can understand the agony of your innocence, with this mindless tragic killing of an innocent young man, protecting his community. My prayers are with you this moment and every moment that you find it difficult to grasp the depth of your despair.
    My Son Paul at 15 was assaulted waiting for a bus. 3 young thugs of 3 different ethnicities, drove a screw into his brain, kicked and punched him and left him for dead. It was 2 San Jose Police officers that came to my sons rescue. they got him to the hospital, where 2 young brain surgeons, braved the challenges, of keeping Paul alive, and succeeded. He had to learn to walk again, talk again and through all of this we his family were in total agony. We held on tightly to each other when the pain became to great to deal with it alone. We focused all of our energy on Paul and ourselves. There is much energy and love for you from all of us that understand the deep feeling of despair. We pray for you and your children this night. You are a brave woman to have stood by your husband all these years as he did what he loved to do.
    Serving his community, and raising his family.
    God Bless You and Yours.

  13. ~~ ROBERT… Go back to being a half drunk Karoke DJ and some sleezy bar. Your politics sucks and I’m sure your cousin is ashamed of you

  14. Mr. Cortese, Mr. Bubbles, and others, on any other day, on any other blog post, I’d happily engage in a lively and respectful debate on the merits of Measure B, police wages and benefits and a whole host of other topics. That day is not today. Nor will it be tomorrow, nor anytime in the foreseeable future. On any other day, I would happily engage in a discussion of the gross deficiencies and rampant injustices of the mental health system. Again, that day is not today. Nor will it be tomorrow, nor anytime in the foreseeable future.

    Officer Johnson was a friend. Not a close friend, but we liked and respected one another and we got along well. Officer Johnson was a Husband, a Son, and Uncle, a Friend to many. He was a consummate professional with a strong work ethic. He always pitched in to help his fellow officers. He was smart and funny and kind and humble. He was someone of whom I could be deeply proud to say “He was my Brother in Blue.”

    And, based on some of the comments I’ve seen posted here, I’m inclined to say that he was way too damned good for the likes of San Jose. How dare you, Mr. Cortese, or you, Mr. Bubbles, inject politics into OUR pain and suffering and anguish or into that of his family? How dare you trivialize his sacrifice on the altar of your agendas – even an agenda with which I might – on any other day – agree. It’s obscene to indulge yourselves in this way and before he’s even been dead a full day. There will be plenty of other days on which to editorialize, Monday Morning quarterback, debate, or even expound. Can’t you even wait a decent, respectful amount of time – maybe sometime AFTER he’s been buried – to unbury your own hatchets and indulge yourselves in the usual ways on here?

    Thank you, Kathleen, for understanding what’s really needed and for doing something truly meaningful by way of honoring Officer Johnson’s life, career, and sacrifice. Thank you for creating a space wherein the his Brothers’ and Sisters’ grief and hurt and suffering can be expressed, and, hopefully, begin to heal a bit.

    Thank you, FinFan, for understanding and articulating the capriciousness and hypocrisy of politicians, citizens and a community which, as a collective, display such selective gratitude. Far too few people appreciate what those in public safety do on a day-to-day basis in any meaningful way and certainly not with much in the way of consistency. It is neither political no unfair to observe that what Officer Johnson and his peers have enjoyed from the community they serve – to include most of the community’s elected and appointed leadership – “was not appreciation but the exact opposite: ingratitude, disdain, contempt”. It is also important that these truths be said because they provide context for understanding the extraordinary professionalism and dedication of those who have remained at SJPD, Officer Johnson, included.

    Thank you, Kathleen for helping to look after the needs of the hearts and souls of those in the LE profession, of people in shock, in grief, and in pain. Thank you, FinFan, for looking after the truth, as you always try to do. None of this goes unnoticed or unappreciated.

    To the rest: Please try to respect that Officer Johnson was a Man, a Son, a Cousin, a Husband. He was my Brother Officer, Brother to hundreds at SJPD and hundreds of thousands across the US. No one who has not donned a badge and a uniform – or served in the armed services – can truly understand or know what that means; just know that it’s important beyond description. And, know this, too: His Life and his death in service to the community of San Jose are worth far more than to be made the poster child for a political agenda or a philosophical point of view. And to those who say and do otherwise, I say this: You’re not worth of his life of service and certainly not worthy of the sacrifice of his life. But the beauty of it all is that Mike knew there are people out there like that – perfect politicians (I say with disdain dripping from my tongue), elected miscreants, and ideologues – and it didn’t matter to him. He did his job the best way he knew how, with honor and dignity and diligence, in spite of your pettiness and hypocrisy. He was bigger and better than those things and we all know that about him and despite the manifest lack of respect displayed by some here and elsewhere, WE will continue to do our jobs as we always have, as Mike did, day in and day out for fourteen years, because that is who WE are and because to do less than that would diminish his sacrifice and his memory and it would diminish us.

    • I’m sorry OA. I read your entire post carefully. Read some of the other posts too, and I can’t apologize enough. Everyone’s souls have been gravely hurt by this.

      Every time anyone gets murdered in San Jose it’s like a knife gets shoved deeper into my chest. Every year it’s like the knife in my heart from watching it goes deeper. This murder? I feel like someone just shoved that knife the rest of the way in. He gave his life so people like the guy that killed him can’t roam free. He gave the ultimate sacrifice. I feel like I want to say something to let you guys know that at least one person on this site wants change. . Sometimes I don’t say them right, sometimes I say things rushed or at the wrong time. Again, I can’t apologize enough. Sorry for being such an idiot.

      Probably what’s most heartbreaking is it takes a tragedy like this to get people to wake up.

      • Mr. Cortese, thank you for your warm and heartfelt apology, which I gladly accept. Death brings out all kinds of things in us and all manner of reactions. I’m afraid I may have been a bit harsh in my initial post, but please understand that I am coming from a place of extraordinary sadness and loss as well as a deep sense of disappointment in some of the things I have read here and elsewhere.

        As a fellow officer wrote elsewhere: I’m uncomfortable with the notion/hashtage #CopsLivesMatter. While I agree with the sentiment I disagree with how it and other memes like it set up an artificial us/them antagonism. Pretty much every officer I know would agree that ALL lives matter. It’s not some Orwellian ‘some animals are more equal than others’ kind of sentiment, but a genuine belief in the sanctity of life, of the rule of law, and of a principled stand against chaos and evil coupled with a desire, willingness and ability to protect the innocent.

        It’s unfortunate that too many people with agendas contrary to those principles I mention have espoused, embraced and exacerbated that artificial antagonism. And, it is no less a tragedy that it takes the death of an officer – particularly of one who served our community so well and with such distinction – for those needlessly constructed walls to begin to be chipped away. And, as much as I grieve for the loss of Officer Johnson, I also grieve the rift which has been created between cops and citizens. All of it is so very tragic and I greatly fear that it is because of this divide – agitated and nurtured by scoundrels and malcontents – which is going to bring down our society as fewer and fewer people the caliber of Officer Johnson and his peers seek out professions in what is, manifestly, a thankless profession.

        Again, thank you for your warm and heartfelt apology.

        • I’m afraid I may have been a bit harsh in my initial post,

          If it counts for anything, I sensed a tremendous amount of restraint in your writing. I’m sure you would have been using choicer words for me if it was allowed here. Again, sorry for being insensitive. It wasn’t the time or place for it.

          Be safe out there. Thank you for keeping my wife and kids safe, they mean the world to me, and you, your brothers, and sisters do an amazing job.

    • Thank YOU OfficerAnonymous for your service and for giving me an idea of who Officer Johnson was. I read your comments with tears in my eyes, as tonight I lost my little brother Butch. No he was not an Officer, but he was my baby brother. I never thought my younger brother would go first. He was very proud of my work, and he had a very high regard for law enforcement like I do. Coming from a military back ground, we understand the bonding that goes on between you and your brothers and sisters. WE understand losing loved ones who put their lives on the line for our community and our country. There is no pain like it. In my humble opinion, there is no greater profession than that of law enforcement, Fire Fighters, and military personnel. I’m both honored and privileged to know and work with many of you. Thank you for your sacrifices and your dedication to we the public.

      I just want to add one thing, last night, I was out celebrating my friend’s commendation from the City of San Jose with a retired SJPD Sgt., and an active SJPD Police Officer when they received the news of an Officer down, and his ensuing death. My heart broke for them when I saw their reaction. They were absolutely devastated, and we all felt helpless as to how to comfort them. To see two strong men whom I love and respect, and would trust my life with react like they did, was truly an eye opener. A painful one at that.

      Holding this vigil is my way of showing all of you that you ARE loved, respected, and appreciated. That your sacrifices MATTER, MEAN something to our community, and that you are SUPPORTED! I am so deeply grateful to Star of David Ministries for immediately accepting my request to partner with us to do this vigil. They too have always supported law enforcement. They hold prayer vigils every third Monday of the month at City Hall to pray for you, our City, and our elected leaders.

      I do NOT want Officer Fontana’s or Officer Johnson’s death to be in vain. It is time to come together as a community and show you that you are NOT alone, and that YOUR pain matters to US!

      Thank you for your service and your dedication. PLEASE, be safe out there. God bless and watch over you and yours~

      • Kathleen, I am so very sorry for you loss. I’ve lost a little brother also, years ago. There’s no pain quite like that. Each loss is a unique experience, its own set of pain and grief.

        I know you, know your support of the LE community and the individual professionals within it. I’ve ridden your freedom train, because I’ve supported the principles you’ve espoused in your work and appreciate how you try to ensure that all the various communities in our city understand that the LE community is FOR them and for those same principles. I don’t always agree with you, but I do always know your heart is in the right place. And I’m thankful for that.

        No less am I thankful to you and to the MLK Foundation and to Star of David Ministries for holding the vigil. I don’t want these officers’ deaths to be in vain and it is my fervent hope that, as a result of this tragedy, some measure of healing and repair of the rift that’s been created between the community and SJPD begins to occur.

        Thank you for your care and your prayers.

        • OfficerAnonymous; Thank you for the kind words. I’m sorry you lost your little brother. My thoughts and prayers are with you too.

          It doesn’t matter if we agree with one another all the time. In the end and at the end of the day, we are both traveling the same path to the same place, we are just on different roads.

          My hope is that Officer Johnson’s sacrifice will be the beginning of healing for us all, and will bring us all together. I can just picture him in heaven with your brother and mine, making that happen.

          If you are at tomorrow night’s vigil, please come up and say Hi. I have a big hug waiting for you!

          Thank you for your service and please be safe out there!

    • > How dare you, Mr. Cortese, or you, Mr. Bubbles, inject politics into OUR pain and suffering and anguish or into that of his family?

      You have it EXACTLY BACKWARDS.

      I was critical of persons intimating that they were Officer Johnson’s soul mates who tried to link his tragic death to their political narrative.

      Direct you outrage to ROBERT MICHAEL CORTESE and to FRUSTRATED FINFAN.

      • SJO… The cops have been pretty clear. This thread is for remembering their fallen. Took OA’s comment to make me realize that, but now that I have…All us non-cops should vacate the thread out of respect. There will be other articles for us to politically narrate and point fingers and complain about the SJ political scene. Let them have this one.

        Again officers, I’m sorry for my earlier comments. Not the time nor the place. I’ll respect your grieving, and keep Johnson in my prayers tonight.

        • I would never presume to say that this particular post should be the xclusive domain of the Law Enforcement family to express their grief over the loss of one of out own. In fact, to the contrary, I would encourage anyone from any walk of life to post condolences to Officer Johnson’s family, first and foremost, and to the community which Officer Johnson called his extended family as well. Our loss is certainly the community’s loss as well, and there’s certainly nothing wrong or offensive about the community coming together to recognize and grieve his loss.

          The only thing I would ask is that everyone set politics and agendas and Monday Morning quarterback aside for a time. Be respectful, and honor a space for people to celebrate his life, a career served with honor and distinction, and to mourn the loss of an outstanding police officer and an even better human being. He and his family deserve at least that much.

  15. Officer Johnson, Thank you for your service to our community, and sadly, for making the ultimate sacrifice in the course of doing your job. May the Johnson family find peace during this time of grief; all San Jose employees and citizens share your sorrow.

    • Top posters on this tragic story

      The Engineer



      Steve Rogers


      Thank you for your help and your insights

      Well, Mr “All About Me” finally realized he was trying to make a tragic story about him.

      ps, yes, every other column has an All About me post

  16. As I went about the day, I would suddenly be struck, enjoying a moment with family or friends, only to realize my brother officer, along with his family or friends, will never be able to experience another one of those same moments ever again. My deepest condolences go out to his family and friends for their loss. My thoughts and prayers are with them through this difficult time.

    This tragic incident serves as a solemn reminder of the dangers of police work. However, on a positive note, it highlights the broad spectrum of intangible qualities men and women of the law enforcement profession, like my brother officer Michael Johnson, exemplify.

    As police officers, we typically don’t seek out gratitude for our work, but rather take pride in what we do on a daily basis. Our pride is validated through the results of our efforts, not solely the acknowledgment of the public. In fact, it could be said that when the peaceful and innocent members of our society are protected against the deception, intimidation and violence we see on a daily basis, we are most proud.

    Michael had listed as his favorite quote, “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” Brother, a few hundred thousand people are sleeping peaceably in San Jose tonight, largely as a result of the work you spent doing for 14 years. May you rest and watch over us with a smile, we’ll take it from here.

    • Steve Rogers: Thank you for sharing with us who Officer Johnson was. Thank you for your service and PLEASE be safe out there!

  17. I am sorry for the family and their loss. I am also sorry for the people of San Jose that have lost someone dedicated to keeping them safe. I always say thank you when I meet an officer or a military person. Now when I meet a policeman I have to sorry for your loss and ultimately our loss. This poor excuse of a human being that took his own life after killing officer Johnson, a person he didn’t even know, could have just easily left this world before he killed the officer. It is a tragic time for San Jose.

  18. Kathleen, thank you for your support and for organizing the candlelight vigil. Is there a Facebook post or something with more information? I plan on attending and would like to share the information with my friends.

    • LONG TIME EMPLOYEE: Thank you for caring and for supporting our efforts to come together to honor Officer Johnson, and our LE. Our Facebook link is:

      Here are our confirmed speakers:
      Pastors Linda and Sonny Lara
      Senator Jim Beall
      Assembly Member Kansen Chu
      Supervisor Dave Cortese
      Vice Mayor Herrera
      Council Member Kalra
      Council Member Khamis
      The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Association’s President Kathleen Flynn
      Janet Childs Director of the Bay Area CISM, Center for Living with Dying Program of Bill Wilson Center

      The focus of the vigil will be on Officer Mike Johnson, and to show our SJPD that we stand united behind them, that they are NOT alone, and that we appreciate them for their service and for putting their lives on the line for us everyday.

      Thank you for coming and for helping us get the word out. I want our LE community to know this tragedy is shared by all of us.

  19. A friend related to me that someone suicidal has the same mental or similar mental state as someone homicidal. Psychologically very much the same state of mind. Why weren’t more precautions taken if this is widely known? How sad indeed.

    • Precautions were taken. In police work, there is only one precaution that would be a 100% guarantee of safety: don’t go to the call. But it is our job to go, so we go. These officers, including Mike Johnson, were being very careful, but all risk cannot be removed from the equation. What you probably don’t realize is that officers respond to similar calls on a fairly regular basis, and usually they are resolved with everyone remaining safe. Sadly, that wasn’t the case this time. While I know your comment came from the heart, it also revealed a very naive view of the job of police officer.

    • Rose Garden resident: I think I understand your question. You are asking why the man’s family didn’t get help for him right? Unfortunately, our mental health system is a mess! Families can not force their loved one to get help. Things need to change in that regard to prevent further tragedies like this from happening.

      Also, we need more money going into the mental health system and better access. The BOS need to address this problem immediately!

  20. Fortunately, there’s no way to credibly spin this tragedy from a political angle. Several attempts to do so appear in the comments above. They were *mostly* summarily challenged. Neither Measure B side can gain claim the moral high ground based on the events that transpired. Believe me, upon hearing the news that one of San Jose’s finest had been killed in the line of duty, I was confident I’d discover details of the case which would fit my own personal narrative about our politics and allow me to crow, “See there. This would never have happened if only ….” But no such facts emerged. It was a senseless, random tragedy to which police officers are uniquely vulnerable. The bald facts do not allow me to in good conscience use this tragedy to further my own political agenda. By the same token I don’t think the facts allow anyone else to either. And for this equitable situation, I’m grateful. Because it allows us all, despite our political differences of opinion, to be united in our expressions of sorrow, our gratitude for the job that SJPD does, and acknowledging the debt of gratitude we owe to Officer Michael Johnson.
    I don’t believe there’s a single commenter here who has anything but the highest respect and honor for this young man who served us so faithfully for the past 14 years. Let’s give each other some credit and cut some slack on these pages to one another as we grope for words and often express ourselves imperfectly. I believe our hearts are in the right place.

  21. > The answer is: Nothing. Nothing can bring that man back. Nothing can replace the honor, integrity, and selflessness that was within him.

    Precisely the point.

    Which why it was TOTALLY INAPPROPRIATE and self-serving for political activists to link Officer Nelson’s tragic death to their agitation related to Measure B. The end purpose of their agitation is ultimately and directly to put more dollars in their pockets or their pensions.

    Crass beyond belief.


      I’m sure you mean well and I often find your comments amusing but it should be obvious to you, as it is to most everyone else, that FINFAN’s comments were no more about politics than were the sentiments expressed in Rudyard Kipling’s poem “Tommy”. It might be worthwhile for you to read it but only if you are able to understand it. If the poem’s meaning is beyond you, perhaps FINFAN can tutor you.

    • Crass beyond belief Bubble? Who is this officer Nelson you speak of?

      I’m not entirely certain you did not just intentionally insert that name for whatever sick and perverted “humor” you’re fond of.

      You’re despicable and you should be ashamed of yourself for your continuous antagonistic posts while people are trying to grieve.

      • > You’re despicable and you should be ashamed of yourself for your continuous antagonistic posts while people are trying to grieve.

        I understand you’re suggesting that you’re less despicable than I am, and therefore claiming to be a better person than me.

        You could be correct.

        Could you provide some explanation to support your claim?


  22. Because everyone posting here seems to be in agreement that it is this city’s moral duty to demonstrate to Michael Johnson’s family its gratitude for his courage, service, and sacrifice, it strikes me as remarkable that a few — posters obviously blinded by their own political obsessions, do not understand it was also this city’s moral duty to have demonstrated those sentiments to Officer Johnson while he was alive and providing that courage and service. But that didn’t happen, adding one more heartbreaking layer to this tragedy — the only one that was preventable.

    • frustrated finfan said,” …it was also this city’s moral duty to have demonstrated those sentiments to Officer Johnson while he was alive and providing that courage and service. But that didn’t happen, adding one more heartbreaking layer to this tragedy — the only one that was preventable.”

      I would agree with that 100%. I personally think that Officer Johnson’s ultimate sacrifice will bring about a change in how officials, and the public looks at and treats members in LE. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a devastating loss/tragedy like this to wake people up, and make them re-think the way they behave.

      LE has been treated with disrespect for too long now, and I for one have been angry and outraged by the lack of support they have received over the past decade. They have earned our respect and we need to show them gratitude for their sacrifices and their service to our community. My hope is that members of the public will now see and understand the importance of this honorable profession and start acting accordingly.

      Rest in peace Officer Johnson and thank you for your service~

  23. URGENT!!! Parking at tonight’s vigil at City Hall:
    The parking garage at City Hall will be CLOSED!
    PLEASE park in the surrounding parking garages!
    Please use public transit when possible or carpool.
    PLEASE do NOT block people’s driveways, or parking in business’s parking lots!

    Thank you!

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