A 14-year veteran San Jose, Calif., police officer was killed Tuesday evening in a dramatic series of events that began with a call about a suicidal man and ended when police used explosives and a robot to breach the suspect's apartment, but found him dead.
The killing of Officer Michael Johnson was the department's first line-of-duty death in 14 years. He was ambushed and fatally wounded as he responded to an apartment complex in the 2600 block of Senter Road, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
San Jose officers were initially called at 6:48 p.m. Tuesday by a family member who said that Scott Dunham, 57, was intoxicated, despondent and possibly meant to harm himself or others, Police Chief Larry Esquivel said. As the officers approached the apartment building on Senter Road and spotted a person on a balcony, they were fired upon without warning.
An officer calmly reported to dispatch that a male has stepped out onto the balcony, describing him as having gray hair, a gray mustache and a black T-shirt. Seconds later, the "shots fired" call can be heard, followed almost immediately by the "officer down" call.
Johnson was the 12th SJPD officer killed in the department's 166-year history. He was a field training officer at the time of his death.