Hundreds, suspect's family member honor fallen San Jose police officer at vigils

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Hundreds gathered in San Jose Friday night to honor fallen police officer Michael Johnson.

A ceremony held at City Hall had officers standing in line a holding white roses. Another ceremony was held earlier Friday evening along Senter Road where Johnson died. Among those in the crowd to pay their respects was the suspect's family member.

The city's councilmembers, mayor and police chief were also in attendance. They shared a few words

After the vigil, Amber Golart shook hands with officers. Golart is the niece of Scott Dunham, the man who shot and killed officer Johnson.

"We just want the community to know we do care," Golart said. "We are sorry."

Golart said her uncle was funny and loving, but he also struggled with mental illness and COPD. On Tuesday night, he was on the verge of not only taking his life but his wife's as well.

"My aunt does considers Michael Johnson her hero. The family considers him their hero. It's a sad day. We're mourning two people, not just one," Golart said.

VIDEO: SJPD speaks out over communication breakdown


Wounds still fresh, police officers say it means a lot for so many to show solidarity at a time when they need it most.

"It helps all of us get through process of grieving and coping with the loss of an officer doing his job," said San Jose Police Chief Larry Esquivel.

"It shows everyone that officers are here to help and protect us. He did just that and he gave his life for it," said Priscilla Jones, who came to honor Johnson.

At City Hall, hundreds turned out for the second vigil of the night. As people paid their respects, the vigil served as another reminder to thank those who serve every day.

"It's a little overwhelming in the sense that there a lot of people out there who do care about us," said San Jose police officer Ruben Chavez.

Donations have been pouring in for Johnson's family. In the meantime, funeral preparations are underway for both Johnson and Dunham.

The memorial service for officer Johnson will be held next Thursday at 11 a.m. at the SAP Center in San Jose. ABC7 News will be streaming the funeral live.

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If you would like to extend your condolences to the officer's family and the San Jose Police Department, click here. We've posted a badge on Facebook for you to share, to honor his memory and his service.

Donation Information
The SJPOA Charitable Foundation is accepting donations for the family of Michael Johnson. Please visit our website at:
www.sjpoa.com to make a donation online.

The Britannia Arms will be holding a fundraiser on April 2nd from 11:00 AM - 2:00 AM. ALL PROCEEDS during this time will be going to the family. The fundraiser will be held at both locations:
Britannia Arms - Downtown
173 W Santa Clara Street
San Jose, CA 95113

Britannia Arms - Almaden
5027 Almaden Expressway
San Jose, CA 95118

The San Jose Earthquakes will be holding an Easter Egg Hunt following the team's match on April 5th (available to kids 10 and under with a ticket to the match). A donation bin will be set up at the Guest Services Center behind section 101. Following the match, fans can donate upon checking in for the Easter egg hunt. In addition, donations can be made at www.sjearthquakes.com.

All the donations will be coming to the SJPOA Charitable Foundation and then given to family.
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