Friday night vigil honors fallen San Jose police officer


A suspect killed in an officer-involved shooting on Tuesday that also killed a San Jose police officer was killed by police gunfire and not by a self-inflicted wound, San Jose police confirmed Thursday.

Scott Dunham, 57, was killed by a gunshot fired by Officer Doug Potwora, a 16-year veteran of the department, police said. Dunham was shot and killed after he allegedly started firing at police with a high-powered rifle from the balcony of his condominium at 2600 Senter Road in East San Jose.

UPDATE 3/27 SAP Center memorial planned for slain San Jose officer Michael Johnson.

Some of the officers returned fire at Dunham, who was found dead on his balcony hours later early Wednesday from a gunshot wound. Police had responded to his address after a 911 call made by a member of Dunham’s family around 6:50 p.m. Tuesday. The caller said he was distraught and intoxicated and had access to firearms, including a rifle.

Officer Michael Johnson, 38, a 14-year-veteran officer and field trainer for police recruits, was shot and killed during the exchange of gunfire. A memorial vigil involving state, county and city elected officials is planned for Friday evening at San Jose City Hall in Johnson’s memory, an organizer said today.

State Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, Assembly member Kansen Chu, D-San Jose, Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese, San Jose Vice Mayor Rose Herrera and Council members Ash Kalra and Johnny Khamis have committed so far to say some words at the event, according to Katherine Flynn, president of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Association in San Jose.

The association is cosponsoring the ceremony, which is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. Friday outside City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., with pastors Linda and Sonny Lara of the Star of David Church in San Jose, Flynn said:

“The reason for the vigil is to honor Officer Johnson, but it’s also about our police officers, to say that we love and support them.”

Janet Childs, director of training for the Critical Incident Stress Management Centre for Living with Dying program at the Bill Wilson Center in San Jose, which offers trauma and grief counseling for law enforcement and emergency personnel, is also slated to address the crowd, she said.

Members of Johnson’s family are currently making plans for his memorial service and law enforcement officers from around the country are expected to attend, according to the San Jose Police Officers’ Association. Johnson was the 12th police officer killed while on duty in San Jose since the city’s police department was founded in 1849.

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