San Jose’s mayor said the northern California city is suffering its “darkest hour” after a 14-year veteran of the police force was shot dead Tuesday evening while responding to a call about a man who was threatening to kill himself with a gun.
Officer Michael Johnson, 38, was one of several officers who responded to the call around 6:45 p.m. Tuesday and were met with gunfire by the suspect, Scott Dunham, according to the San Jose Police Department.
Dunham, 57, was on the balcony of his apartment building armed with a high-powered rifle, according to a press release. He initiated a shoot-out with police and fatally struck Johnson, a field training officer.
“Officers are obviously crying, grieving; they will obviously do so for some time. Our hearts, our prayers go out with the family of Michael, our brother. This is a very difficult time right now,” police spokesman Officer Albert Morales told the San Jose Mercury News. “Rest assured we’ll keep him in our memories as we go out there and continue to do the job we loved to do and I’m sure that he loved to do.”
After the shoot-out, police began an intense manhunt for Dunham, as it was unclear whether he was still inside his home or had fled. According to the Mercury News, nearby homes were evacuated, and several neighboring police agencies assisted with the search.
Eventually, the San Jose Police Department’s Mobile Emergency Response Group and Equipment Unit entered Dunham’s apartment – reportedly with the help of explosives and a robot – and Dunham’s body was discovered on the balcony of his home with at least one gunshot wound, reports NBC Bay Area.
It’s not clear whether gunfire from police killed Dunham, the news station reports.
Now, the city is mourning the loss of the veteran officer, who reportedly leaves behind a wife.
“This is San Jose’s darkest hour,” Mayor Sam Liccardo said, per the Mercury News. “This strikes the heart of all of us in San Jose and throughout the region.”
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