Family reveals SJPD gunman suffered from COPD

Matt Keller Image
ByMatt Keller KGO logo
Friday, March 27, 2015
Family members reveal new details about the man who shot SJ police officer
New details are emerging about the gunman who shot and killed San Jose police officer Michael Johnson.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Preparations are underway in the South Bay for two vigils for a fallen police officer whose death has rocked the community.

Meantime, a new picture is emerging of the gunman who shot and killed a San Jose police officer Michael Johnson this week.

The family of Scott Dunham, the man accused of shooting and killing Officer Johnson, says Dunham was ill and distraught.

The scene of the crime on Senter Road is now a memorial for Officer Johnson who was shot and killed Tuesday night.

At San Jose police headquarters, there is a huge memorial for Officer Johnson recognizing the tragic loss for the department.

"Nobody wants to see anybody especially a law enforcement officer lose their life responding to a call where they're there to help. It's devastating. It really is, and anger is part of that emotion," said Police Chief Larry Esquivel.

The wife and niece of 57-year-old Dunham arrived back at the front door of the condo at Senterville Terrace. They were waiting for a cleaning crew to arrive.

Although she didn't want to go on camera, Dunham's niece told us the family is devastated and is sorry for the death of Officer Johnson. She described her uncle as a caring, loving and sweet man with two daughters and six grandchildren.

"He was a nice man. I don't know what may have transpired in his life to bring him to this point," said York.

Dunham's niece gave us some insight saying her uncle was diagnosed with COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and needed to use oxygen.

According to her, he had been suicidal in the past and may have suffered from an undiagnosed mental illness.

She believes the reality of dying weighed heavily on him and may have pushed him over the edge on Tuesday night.

A vigil will be held Friday night at 6:30 p.m. out in front of the home. Dunham's family may attend with the intention of offering up an apology to the community.

Neighbors are still trying to process the horrific violence that took place here.

"It's really hard to believe someone I knew did this. I feel terrible for the officer and his family. It's just...uh... I don't know. I'm just kind of numb to the whole thing now," said York.

A prayer vigil is also being held on Friday night at 8 p.m. at San Jose City Hall to show support for Officer Johnson's family and the police department. It starts at 8 p.m. The San Jose Police Department's Twitter page has more details of the Friday night vigil, as well as tweets expressing their gratitude and appreciation of the community's support.


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: 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

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