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San Jose Police Officer Killed In The Line Of Duty, Gunman Found Dead On Balcony

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- Police are trying to piece together the events that led a San Jose police officer being shot and killed as he responded to a call for assistance Tuesday night.

San Jose police said 57-year-old Scott Dunham was found deceased by officers at 3:20 a.m. on the balcony of his residence.  Police said he was shot at least once.  It is not known if the gunshot wound was self-inflicted.

Police were called to an apartment complex on the 2600 block of Senter Road around 6:45 p.m. on reports of a man who was suicidal.

Chief Larry Esquivel said when the officers approached the apartment, the gunman open fired at the officers. One of the officers was fatally shot in the confrontation.

Early Wednesday morning, San Jose police identified the fallen officer as Michael Johnson, a 14-year veteran of the force.

"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. 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," said San Jose Police Department spokesman officer Albert Morales early Wednesday morning.

Officers returned fire, possibly wounding the suspect. Garren Weeden, an eyewitness to the shooting, said the gunman opened fire from his balcony.

"He just shot him in the head with a rifle," Garren Weeden, an eyewitness, told KPIX 5. "It was bad."

Scott Dunham
Scott Dunham is suspected of fatally shooting a San Jose Police officer on March 24, 2015. (San Jose Police Department)

"This has been San Jose's darkest hour," Mayor Sam Liccardo said on Tuesday night. "Our hearts go out to the family, the friends and colleague of the fallen officer. The assailant will be brought to justice."

Law enforcement from across the Bay Area posted their condolences on Twitter.

The last San Jose police officer killed in the line of duty was in 2001. Officer Jerry Fontana, a 24-year-old rookie, was fatally shot during a traffic stop in South San Jose.

Heroes Memorial Foundation announced a lights on event for Johnson. From now until April 1, they ask that all citizens turn on a blue light on their porch or in a window to honor the fallen officer.

A fundraiser is scheduled to run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 2 at Britannia Arms, 5027 Almaden Expressway. All proceeds will go to the Johnson family.


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