On March 24, 2015, a San Jose Police Officer called the Police department telling them there was a potentially armed citizen who was threatening his life. The police immediately rushed to his apartment and cleared the area for the safety of the community. As the police set up a perimeter they established that the target was armed and was in possession of a very high powered rifle. The police were aware that the suspect was armed and was threatening his own life. “He never had a chance to talk to the suspect. The team was still setting up a perimeter around the target house, and we’re still gathering information about which apartment the suspect was in and what types of weapons he had. The suspect suddenly appeared on the balcony and fired his rifle.” said Sergeant Kendra Nunes when asked if protocol was followed by Officer Michael Johnson, badge number 3718. Scott Dunham, 57 fired a round at the officer which resulted in a casualty for the San Jose Police. The first San Jose Police death in 14 years. Another officer who was on scene in the appartment returned fire and dispatched the suspect who caused the darkest hour for San Jose.
During the year 2013, there were a total of 27 police officer deaths, these murders include, four from disturbance calls, six from arrest situations, five from investigating suspicious persons, five from ambush situations, one from investigative activity, two from traffic pursuits and stops, and four from tactical situations. These were all tragedies to the country and families and all since then and before then have been very serious and horrible tragedies.
“I worked on a team with him several years ago. He was a very mellow, talkative, happy-go-lucky guy. He loves to travel and do adventure sports, was an avid gun collector and expert marksman, and he loved to bake.” said Kendra Nunes, a sergeant on the San Jose Police. Officer Michael Johnson was engaged to be married very soon and Johnson’s fiance and Johnson’s family have been visited by the mayor within the week. Officer Johnson had a family and many friends who will suffer from this loss, along with the whole country.
When Sgt. Nunes was asked if this accident could have been prevented she responded with, “I’d like to be clear that this should be called a murder, not an accident. I really don’t think much could have been done to prevent it, other than better mental health resources that may have prevented the suspect from becoming homicidal/suicidal. Mike and his team did things right. Unfortunately, even when we do things the right way, bad guys don’t follow rules. Mike was ambushed and had no opportunity to defend himself or prevent it.”
Some safety tips to civilians by Sgt. Nunes include, “Stop staring at your phones and walking around with headphones in. Be aware of surroundings. Watch people. Make eye contact. Trust your gut. If you get a feeling something isn’t right, trust that intuition! Bad things often happen in late hours, and when alcohol and drugs are involved. Avoid these things,” and if you see anything worthy of being considered a potential threat, “Be a good witness. Call 911, give as much detail as possible, and keep yourself safe. License plates and descriptions are critical.”
By: Andy Wise, News Writer