Police this morning 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.
Officer Michael Johnson, a 14-year veteran of the police department, was shot and killed around 6:50 p.m. at a residence in the 2600 block of Senter Road in San Jose.
The suspect in the shooting, identified as Scott Dunham, 57, of San Jose was found at 3:20 a.m. on the balcony of the residence, dead from at least one gunshot wound, police said.
Police have not said if Dunham was shot during an initial exchange of gunfire with officers or if he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“We are working with the coroner to determine the cause of death,” said San Jose Police Chief Larry Esquivel.
Esquivel said the only report of shots fired during the incident came during the initial exchange of gunfire between Dunham and responding officers, and there were no other people in the apartment where Dunham was found dead.
A family member of Dunham called police to report that the 57-year-old man was despondent, intoxicated and possibly had access to weapons, including a rifle. The reporting party also feared Dunham may hurt somebody, Esquivel said.
When officers arrived on scene to the apartment, Dunham allegedly fired at officers from his residence, shooting Johnson. Johnson was pronounced deceased at the scene.
Police set up a perimeter around the residence and remained at the scene for several hours until Dunham’s body was discovered this morning. Esquivel said officers did not have any contact with Dunham following the initial exchange of gunfire, and it is possible he was dead several hours before his body was discovered on the balcony.
Esquivel said there are still several questions that will be answered as the investigation unfolds. Police spokesman Albert Morales said officers in the department are grieving this morning, and he said he saw several crying following their fellow officer’s death.
“Our hearts, our prayers go out with the family of Michael, our brother,” he said. “This is a very very difficult time right now.”