Friends, colleagues remember slain San Jose police officer

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ByDavid Louie KGO logo
Thursday, March 26, 2015
Friends, colleagues remember slain San Jose officer
While the family of a fallen San Jose police officer remain in seclusion as they deal with unimaginable grief, his friends and colleagues are opening up about a man who they say touched many lives in his 14 year career.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The family of fallen Officer Michael Johnson is dealing with unimaginable grief after the veteran San Jose cop was shot and killed Tuesday night. His wife and father are in seclusion. But friends and colleagues tell ABC7 News that the 38-year-old had the perfect skills to be a police officer and he touched many lives in his 14 years working patrol.

The outpouring on social media has been overwhelmingly supportive of an officer most had probably never met. Others brought flowers to police headquarters to express their sorrow and respect.

PHOTOS: San Jose police escort body of fallen officer

Police say Johnson was shot and killed by 57-year-old Scott Dunham at an apartment on Senter Road.

"When a police officer is killed in the line of duty, it really is a loss for everyone in the community," said Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen.

Rosen said Johnson testified in cases he and others were prosecuting he says the veteran officer was always prepared.

Johnson also had a lot of friends who cared deeply for him. Frank Santiago was one of them, who worried when he heard about the shooting on Senter Road.

"I texted him," said Santiago. "I said, 'hey you okay bro?' And I never got a response. And I was hoping, you know, I would see something this morning. But, you know, I never got that text."

VIDEO: Neighbors of man accused of killing SJ cop speak out

Santiago and Johnson were black belts in judo and taught both children and adults at the Pacific Judo & Ju Jitsu Academy in South San Jose. Johnson started training in martial arts at age 15.

His one-time supervisor at the San Jose Police Department, San Jose Police Officer Association President Sgt. Paul Kelly, said Johnson was an ideal officer.

"He was an even keel, respectful, hard-working officer," he said. "You'd ask him to do any assignment, and it'd get done."

But even more important, Johnson had the personality and a way of communicating that helped in police work.

"Mike was so easy going and just, even his mannerisms and how he spoke, that it was easy for people on the street to connect to him and be able to open up and talk to him because he was an easy guy to talk to," Kelly said.

VIDEO: Dispatch audio paints intense picture before SJ officer killed

Michael Johnson will now become the 12th officer to have his photo added to the memorial wall at San Jose police.

His wife and father asked for privacy on Wednesday to deal with their grief. They released a statement on Wednesday that reads:

"Last night Officer Michael Johnson of the San Jose Police Department was shot and killed while trying to help the community he loved. We are deeply saddened by his loss and cannot express in writing how deep a hole in our hearts we are left with by his passing.

We appreciate all of the thoughts and prayers we have received from the community, both near and far and take comfort in your sharing our pain and in your recognition that police officers lay it on the line day in and day out as they work to make the world a better place.

This is the statement the family intends to make and greatly appreciate having the space we need to allow our family to grieve and heal in private.

We love you Mike our husband, son, brother, uncle and hero.

Rest in peace."

A restaurant that's popular with San Jose police is holding a fundraiser to commemorate the fallen officer and raise money for his family. Brittania Arms will hold the fundraiser on April 2 from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. at its location at 5027 Almaden Expressway. Manager Steve Moreno tells ABC7 News that all sales -- not profits or a percentage -- will go to the officer's family.

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.

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