April 2, 2015
Bill Mattos, Editor and Publisher
Leroy Pyle, Webmaster
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THOUSANDS GATHER TODAY TO SAY GOOD-BYE TO MIKE
At 10 a.m. today (Thurs.) a massive memorial for Officer
Mike Johnson will be held at the SAP Center that is
expected to draw thousands of civilians as well as
active and retired law enforcement personnel from around
Today’s paper included this up close and personal look
at Mike’s life.
S.J. Officer Was Devoted to Family, City
—Johnson, killed in line of duty, loved serving his home
Robert Salonga and Mark Emmons — Staff writers
News — April 2, 2015
SAN JOSE — Michael Johnson was a San Jose guy. He grew
up delivering the hometown newspaper and captained the
chess team at Gunderson High School before following in
his father’s footsteps of becoming a police officer.
“Mike,” as he was better known, fiercely wanted to serve
the community where he was raised.
And he died doing exactly that.
“What’s been lost is a really good man who the public at
large might not have known but would have been happy to
know,” said Detective Nate Bennett, a police academy
classmate of Johnson. “The kind of person they would
have wanted in that position. Those people are rare.”
On Thursday morning, the community will unite at a
public memorial to mourn Johnson, a married, 14-year
veteran of the San Jose Police Department who was
fatally shot March 24 while responding to a 911 call
involving a suicidal man.
The ceremony at SAP Center is expected to draw thousands
of police officers from around the country as well as
dignitaries including state Attorney General Kamala
Harris, Rep. Mike Honda, the entire San Jose City
Council and other state and local elected officials.
Also expected to attend are former San Jose mayors Tom
McEnery and Ron Gonzales, former police Chief Rob Davis,
Laurie McNamara, widow of former Chief Joseph McNamara,
and Sandy Fontana, mother of Jeffrey Fontana, the last
department officer killed in the line of duty and
Johnson’s academy classmate.
They will gather to honor a man described as a dedicated
cop who worked tirelessly to become an expert
sharpshooter and who could deftly de-escalate tense
“He was a nice guy, always happy,” said David Solis,
another of Johnson’s academy classmates who now works
with Menlo Park police. “He loved being a cop. Not all
cops can say that, especially in this day and age with
the way society views us.”
Johnson, he said, “never lost a love” for being an
Or a love for his city. Johnson and his wife, Nicole,
who goes by “Nikki,” planned to raise a family in San
Jose. They married in a civil ceremony in August 2013
and were planning a formal wedding in August in Santa
Cruz, according to a family obituary published in this
Johnson, 38, came to the Bay Area as a grade-schooler,
after spending the first decade of his life traveling
among towns dotting the California-Nevada border and
then the Central Valley. His father was an Army police
officer who later joined the Calaveras County Sheriff’s
Office. In the late 1980s, following his parents’
divorce, Johnson moved to South San Jose with his mother
His family established deep roots in the community,
setting the stage for Johnson’s bond to the city. He
worked a paper route, slinging the San Jose Mercury News
from his bike. His mother, Katherine Decker, became
active in making their neighborhood a better place and
now serves on the executive board of the VEP Community
Association, a neighborhood group that represents more
than 2,000 families in Blossom Valley.
Not long after they settled, their family house became a
focal point in the neighborhood. During the holidays,
they would decorate a towering, front-yard tree and
invite neighbors to sample crockpots simmering with hot
chocolate and apple cider. Bins were set up to collect
food and toys for the needy.
Neighbor Gina Thomas said Johnson would go to the house
for dinner with his mother, sometimes still in uniform.
“They’re just wonderful people,” Thomas added. “If
everyone could be like this family, we would have the
best world. They’re just so loving, kind and always
In high school, Johnson gravitated toward math and
science. But he also took up jiujitsu — earning a black
belt in 2008 and later becoming an instructor — and was
an avid trivia buff and scuba diver.
In 2001, he joined the San Jose police academy,
finishing that same year. He worked primarily as a
patrol officer but developed an array of expertise,
including prescription drug fraud. He was revered in the
department for his aptitude and encyclopedic knowledge
about firearms and was regarded as one of the most
skilled marksmen on the force. He medaled often at the
Police and Fire Games and was set to be inducted into
the competition’s hall of fame.
Sgt. Steve Donohue, another academy classmate of
Johnson’s, said that whenever he had a question about a
gun or a gun part found at a crime scene, he called
“He’d know exactly what it was, what the violation was,”
Donohue said. “It was his thing. He knew about guns.”
Johnson was a field training officer, assigned to the
Covert Response Unit tasked with enforcing high-risk
arrests, and was a specialist on the patrol force,
trained as a first-responder to high-risk situations
such as when a subject is believed to be armed.
It was in that role that Johnson was summoned with two
other officers to investigate a report of a man acting
erratically and threatening his wife. The man, Scott
Dunham, 57, was armed with a high-powered rifle and
hidden behind an enclosed balcony when he fatally shot
Johnson. Another officer shot and killed Dunham.
Frank Santiago met Johnson through their shared passion
of martial arts and both were instructors at the Pacific
Judo & Ju Jitsu Academy in San Jose, where Johnson
enjoyed teaching kids.
By chance, Santiago once saw Johnson on the job as he
responded to a call of loud music.
“Mike didn’t approach it with a badge and a gun,”
Santiago recalled. “And it was really cool to watch
because he was so mellow. I texted him afterward and
said: ‘Hey Mikey, you handled that pretty good.’ I
praised him all the time for protecting us.”
That demeanor was the result of preparation, training
“The first word that popped in my head about him was
‘confidence,’ ” Bennett added. “He knew he could handle
the situations that could come up, and knew exactly what
he should do. He was able to assess a situation really
And with a natural ability to engage people, Johnson had
a knack for drawing others into conversation.
“He was one of the most pleasant people to come across,”
Bennett said. “With shift work, you pass by someone and
sometimes get a head nod of a ‘Hey.’ With him, he’d stop
and give a real genuine smile, and you could tell he was
happy to see you, and you were happy to see him and
you’d talk. Sometimes a few minutes, sometimes a little
longer, and suddenly you’d be late getting home.”
Johnson is survived by his wife, Nicole, parents Daniel
Johnson and Katherine Decker, stepparents Dann Decker
and Penny Johnson, sister Jamie Radack, a niece and
nephew, his grandmother and his in-laws.
• • • • •
Former Mayor Tom McEnery authored this tribute to Mike
that also appeared in today’s (Thurs.) paper…
Forget: Let Us Memorialize the Fallen
News — April 2, 2015
Officer Michael Johnson was killed last week answering a
call to assist in a domestic problem.
He rushed to help someone because it was his duty.
Some have called it a senseless death.
They are very wrong.
The death of Officer Johnson, like the 11 who preceded
him in that roll of honor, was tragic but anything but
senseless. He was doing his job, a responsibility he
gladly shouldered, protecting the rest of us — the good
and gentle people of all ethnicities that enrich our
city in an ever more confusing world. Johnson was our
It is a job that few are able to do and fewer still can
perform without some damage. Their loved ones suffer
pressures that most of us would find unimaginable.
Michael Johnson served and protected.
He joins the list of fallen officers that began nearly
one hundred years ago when Sgt. Morris Hubbard, 29,
answered another call about a man threatening a woman
with a gun.
We have not seen such sorrow since young Jeff Fontana,
an academy classmate of Mike’s, was killed 14 years ago.
And in 1989, two officers on that list I knew well, Gene
Simpson and Gordon Silva, died trying to protect others,
shot near what is now the plaza of the new City Hall. I
was there that day on the street and at the hospital.
What makes a person give such service and answer such a
I have seen much of such officers as mayor and citizen.
This bravery is different from that of a soldier, who
knows at all times he is on a field of battle.
The hundreds of officers in San Jose are a combination
of community workers, priests and protectors. They help
those who are vulnerable and those who are helpless;
they assist many that society has forgotten and defend
us from those who have no conscience and fail to value
human life. They are the best of us.
It is a vocation. Yet this calling is often not
recognized except in moments of great tragedy.
Other days, we are all too busy while pundits and
critics analyze, decry the rare exceptions and debate
police tactics on a Monday morning as they might have if
our officers fired first last week.
But not all our tragedies are on the front page.
One concerned Officer Rocky Bridges. He is not one of
the 12, but he was a hero, a man I met 35 years ago in
the effort to make the downtown neighborhood near Notre
Dame High School safe from drugs and violence.
He patrolled with seniors, nuns and mothers. Later, he
was shot in line of duty but recovered and returned. He
soon saw his partner, Henry Bunch, killed, and in a life
or death struggle killed the assailant — he was awarded
the Department Medal of Honor — and again returned.
Finally, damage, physical and other, persuaded him that
he could not continue. Rocky went back to being a
teacher, but he and others for their daily service
belong on that roll of honor also.
I have always found it amazing not that the men and
women of our department sometimes complain — these have
been excruciating years for all — but that they complain
so little. What makes such officers?
In the plaza in front of City Hall, where Simpson and
Silva fell, many of us have long discussed a Memorial to
The mayor and the community support this, and it must
But far more important than commemorating them is a firm
resolve to honor the men and women who every day go out
in this thin blue line that makes San Jose a place to
live and raise a family.
Gordon and Gene and Henry and the dauntless Rocky, and
young Jeff — their bright lives were extinguished too
soon. All but one, I knew when they and I were young.
Now I have children past their age, but I see them so
clearly in my mind’s eye. They live only in my memory
along with the hundreds that preceded them. Others I so
admire now serve in their place.
Michael Johnson and his brothers did not die in vain.
These lives had great meaning. They will never grow old
nor be forgotten.
To do so would dishonor all that has gone before and
make us less than all that we have met.
We will honor him and them in a memorial in stone. More
importantly, our responsibility, the living, is to etch
in our collective memory the names that we know, and
those we do not, and recite that litany of these many
noble lives. We will not dwell on how they died. We will
always remember how they lived.
Tom McEnery was mayor of San Jose from 1983 to 1990. He
wrote this for this newspaper.
• • • •
Mike's obituary appeared in Tuesday through today's
(Thurs.) Mercury News
San Jose Police Officer Michael Johnson was killed in
the line of duty on March 24, 2015 when he responded to
a 911 call for help. He was only 38 years old.
Michael Jeremiah Johnson, “Mike” as he was
affectionately known, was born on December 4, 1976. At
the time he was born, Mike’s dad, Daniel Johnson, was a
military police officer for the United States Army and
stationed at Herlong, California. After his dad was
discharged from the Army, he joined the Calaveras County
Sheriff’s Department and Mike and his family moved to
Wilseyville. After spending some time living in
Vallecito and Angels Camp following his parents’
divorce, Michael moved to South San Jose with his mom,
Katherine Decker, and sister, Jamie Radack, in 1988.
Shortly after they moved to San Jose, Mike got his first
job delivering newspapers on his bicycle for the San
Jose Mercury News. Mike attended Gunderson High School
and graduated in 1995. While in High School, Mike was
the captain of the chess team and he excelled at math
and science. He also began to study jujitsu, earning his
black belt in 2008, and becoming a sensei ( teacher) at
the dojo where he studied.
In 2001, Mike joined the San Jose Police Academy and
graduated on June 15, 2001. During his 14 years with the
San Jose Police Department, Mike worked as a Patrolman,
Court Liaison, and Prescription Drug Fraud Specialist.
At the time of his death, Mike had recently been
promoted to Field Training Officer and assigned to the
Covert Response Unit. Mike was a skilled marksman,
winning numerous medals at the Police and Fire Games.
Mike is going to be inducted into the Police and Fire
Games Hall of Fame this year.
Mike and his wife, Nicole (“Nikki”), were married in a
civil ceremony on August 3, 2013 and were planning a
formal wedding ceremony and reception on August 29, 2015
in Santa Cruz, California. They planned to buy a home
and settle in San Jose with their cat Seymour and their
pug Willy. If Mike had his way, they were going to adopt
a new puppy as well. Mike and Nikki knew for certain
they also wanted to raise a family in San Jose.
Mike loved the community he served. He loved being a
police officer and took great pride in working for the
San Jose Police Department. He also loved to travel,
scuba dive, play trivia, teach jujitsu to kids, go to
the gun range, and spend time with his family and
friends. Mike was a devoted husband, a loving son and
grandson, an amazing brother, a doting uncle, and a
Mike is survived by his wife Nikki, his parents Daniel
Johnson and Katherine Decker, his step-parents Dann
Decker and Penny Johnson, his grandmother Frances
Guillemin, his sister Jamie Radack, his brother-in-law
Steve Radack, his niece Ami Radack, his nephew Eli
Radack, his mother and father-in-law Susan and Antonio
Chavez, and his sister and brother-in-law Gina and
Jameson Stiehr and brother-in-law Danny Chavez.
A public memorial service will be held for Mike at the
SAP Center in San Jose, California on Thursday, April 2,
2015 at 11:00 a.m.
• • • • •
From Tuesday’s paper…
Above: Victoria Callahan and her son, Troy Hallman, 2,
visit a memorial
honor of slain San Jose police Officer Michael Johnson
in front of San
Police Department headquarters Monday. Johnson was shot
week in an apparent ambush as he and fellow officers
responded to a
call at a condominium on Senter Road.
Messages, signs and flowers left by the community
and Johnson’s colleagues adorn the memorial.
• • • • •
Yesterday’s (Wed.) paper included this story…
Bound by Sorrow
San Jose police prepare to memorialize one of their own,
other departments share burden—
Emmons and Robert Salonga — Staff writers
Copyright 2015, Bay Area News Group
SAN JOSE — When a contingent of Santa Cruz cops made the
solemn journey to San Jose police headquarters last week
to pay their respects in the wake of Officer Michael
Johnson’s shooting death, they paused at the growing
memorials of flowers, candles and handwritten notes.
All the sorrow and anguish from their own loss came
“You always carry the scar, and you never forget,” said
Santa Cruz Deputy Chief Steve Clark. “They face a long
road. We’re two years down that road, and it never
really goes away.”
The stark, sad reality is that it’s no longer that rare
for a Bay Area law enforcement agency to be confronted
with the tragedy of a fallen officer. Johnson was the
11th officer shot to death locally since 2008 — a grim
tally that includes the 2013 ambush of two Santa Cruz
detectives. The Oakland, Vallejo, Martinez and BART
departments, as well as the California Highway Patrol,
also have seen officers killed in the line of duty
during that span.
All have been where the San Jose force is today.
That shared sense of tragedy helps explain why law
enforcement agencies from around the Bay Area and beyond
will gather as one Thursday at the SAP Center in a
collective show of support at a public memorial to honor
Johnson, who was slain March 24 while responding to an
“There is solidarity, because you all know the risks of
the work that you’re doing,” said Steve Groeninger of
the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
“Officers picture themselves in those situations,
thinking: ‘What if that had happened to me or my
partner?’ So they understand the grief and the emotion.”
A shared sorrow
Oakland police officer wipes a tear at the
memorial service for four officers slain in 2009.
Oakland police Capt. Ersie Joyner knows that pain all
too well. His 24-year career includes the darkest day in
Oakland department history — March 21, 2009 — when four
colleagues were gunned down. “My life is still not the
same,” Joyner said. “It’s something I think about on a
regular basis. I use their memory — the fact they loved
this job — and every day I go out there, I wear that
uniform for them.” The BART Police Department had never
in its history lost an officer in the line of duty until
Jan. 21, 2014. That day Detective Sgt. Thomas “Tommy”
Smith Jr. accidentally was killed by a colleague in a
“friendly fire” incident.
Police officers line up during funeral services for BART
Sgt. Tommy Smith Jr., killed by “friendly fire” in 2014.
“You always know about the ultimate sacrifice,” said
BART police Chief Kenton Rainey. “But it’s just not
something that you ever think about. So when it comes,
it hits you like a ton of bricks. It knocks an agency
off-balance. You do a professional job, but you can just
tell that people are grieving and hurting.”
Now, San Jose is mourning.
Johnson was one of three San Jose police officers who
answered the 911 call of a suicidal man who had
threatened to kill his wife if she didn’t leave their
Senter Road condominium. Johnson was shot to death with
a high-powered rifle by Scott Dunham, 57, who was
partially hidden by a walled balcony. The married
Johnson, 38, never had a chance, investigators said.
Another officer returned fire, killing Dunham.
It marked the 12th time a San Jose officer was killed in
the department’s 166year history, and the first since
Renee Hassna, executive director for the Oakland Police
Officers’ Association, has coordinated more than a dozen
officer memorials for that department — and nearly twice
that many for other agencies in California and out of
state. She said a death is felt in every corner of a
“They’re a tight-knit, close group of people,” Hassna
said. “They say ‘family’ for a reason. Whether you know
the person or not, it all hits everyone.”
That was the case in Santa Cruz when a small department
of 94 sworn officers lost two of its own, Detective Sgt.
Loran “Butch” Baker and Detective Elizabeth Butler, in a
The next day, San Jose officers were in Santa Cruz,
consoling grief-stricken police there. The department
also helped coordinate a memorial service at SAP Center.
Clark said his officers have never forgotten that
kindness, which is why they immediately headed to San
Jose after Johnson’s death.
“It’s our turn to be there for them,” Clark said.
That impulse comes from a place of empathy and the
knowledge of the daunting task of staging a large
memorial amid such despair, said Capt. John Arrabit of
the California Highway Patrol. The CHP lost 37-year-old
Officer Kenyon Youngstrom to a gunman at a freeway stop
in Alamo on Sept. 4, 2012. He was one of the statewide
agency’s 225 duty deaths in 85 years.
“We’re suffering that loss and grief, and yet have to
plan a magnificent ceremony to honor how they lived and
died,” Arrabit said.
San Jose’s rank-and-file already felt under siege amid
the ongoing fight with City Hall over wages and benefits
that has led to an exodus of officers to retirement and
better-paying jobs elsewhere — and sagging morale among
cops who have stayed.
But in the wake of this tragedy, the force has been
encouraged by the steady stream of condolences and shows
of gratitude from the public, said Officer James
Gonzales, vice president of the San Jose Police
“We’ve been an embattled police department for a while,”
Gonzales said. “We’re very grateful for this reaction.
It makes a big difference. It reassures us that people
are grateful for the sacrifice.”
With the force busily preparing for the memorial,
Gonzales added, the full impact of grief may have yet to
hit Johnson’s fellow officers.
“Since the night it happened, it’s just been nonstop,”
he said. “A lot of things have been put on hold,” he
said. “After he’s buried, I think it will set in on a
different level. We’ll have to be watchful of each other
when that happens.”
It will be a long process of recovery, BART’s Rainey
“Only time helps,” Rainey added. “Time is the healer.
But you cannot get the clock to go any faster. And when
something happens like it did in San Jose, it brings it
SAP Center will be filled Thursday with officers and
deputies attired in formal uniforms, standing at
attention, with black mourning bands stripped across
their badges. That is part of the time-honored ritual,
borrowed from the military culture, of saying goodbye to
a fallen officer.
“But it’s more about reassuring a shaken community,”
Clark said. “It’s scary to see one of your protectors
from evil fall. So when you see police departments come
together, and stand side-by-side, it’s telling a
community: ‘We will stand with you. You are not alone.
We’re all in this together.’ ”
• • • • •
This was the front page story from last Sunday’s Mercury
can’t be happening—
Second tragedy — slaying of on-duty officer— brings band
of San Jose cadets
together again, making them among ‘closest-knit officers
in the department’
Police Academy / Class of 2001
the Line of Duty > Jeffrey Fontana (2001) > Michael
News — March 29, 2015
SAN JOSE — The night Officer Michael Johnson was gunned
down, the San Jose Police Department knew that one group
of officers in particular should find out before it hit
the news: his police academy class of 2001.
These were people who were already changed forever when
their classmate Jeffrey Fontana was killed during a
traffic stop just weeks after graduation. Now this.
“They are probably the closest-knit officers in the
department,” said Officer James Gonzales of the Police
Officers’ Association. Johnson’s death Tuesday evening
“took what is almost an immeasurable bond and multiplied
it to infinity.”
Throughout the past 14 years this group has formed a
tight connection through triumph and turmoil at the SJPD
— from the days when San Jose was known as the safest
big city in America to a modern era fraught with pay
cuts and pension debates, layoffs and low morale.
Of the 35 members of the class of 2001, class members
count 19 remaining on the force. Of those who left, most
found jobs at other police agencies, and some have
retired on medical disability after being hurt so badly
on the job they couldn’t return. In many ways, this
class has come to define a generation of San Jose police
No matter where they landed, many of these men and women
gathered for Fontana’s every vigil and anniversary,
treated Fontana’s mother and younger brother as their
own, and struggled with loss and fear for years.
So when Johnson was killed Tuesday, the bond brought
them together again.
David Solis, 38, left the SJPD this past summer to work
at the Menlo Park Police Department. He was on duty at
the jail when his cellphone started pinging with
messages from his 2001 classmates.
“I told my boss, and he said, ‘Go,’ ” Solis said Friday.
“I drove from Menlo Park to San Jose, in uniform in my
patrol car. I got there and stayed there until the scene
was secure, almost at 4 a.m. It was like being at a
funeral without being at a funeral. It was horrible.”
And it was too eerily familiar. “It seemed like deja
vu,” he said. “This can’t be happening.”
As word quickly spread through the ranks of the SJPD,
about 40 officers — many of whom had just finished their
day shifts — volunteered to cover midnight beats as
resources shifted to the crime scene.
Johnson, 38, who grew up in San Jose like many of his
classmates, was a specialist for the San Jose Police
Department, a sharpshooter who won numerous trophies for
his skills at police Olympic games. He was one of the
first deployed for “hot calls” like the one Tuesday at
dusk, when a 911 call came in saying a man was suicidal
and had a gun. The man, Scott Dunham, 57, was
threatening to kill his wife if she didn’t leave their
condominium on Senter Road. It’s the kind of dicey and
dangerous call police officers respond to all the time.
As Johnson carefully approached with his AR-15 rifle,
Dunham, who was partially hidden behind a solid front
balcony, fired. Johnson fell to the ground. He never
fired a shot. Another officer, Douglas Potwora,
immediately returned fire. The walled balcony made it
difficult to determine if Dunham was hit or fled, so
through the night and into the dawn, Johnson’s fellow
officers secured the area and sent robots and flash
grenades into the condo until Dunham was found dead
right where Potwora shot him.
Former academy classmate Mike Ruybal, who left the SJPD
in 2012 for another agency on the Peninsula, was at home
with his wife and children when one of his classmates
called with the tragic news. Soon, another 2001 alum
arrived. They listened to the scanner and watched the
news, spotting a couple of their former classmates
working the grim crime scene, knowing that their buddy —
the quiet guy with the quick smile and love for firearms
and jiujitsu — was gone.
The TV news captured the solemn procession of officers
escorting Johnson’s body through the city streets to the
“It was tough,” Ruybal said. “It’s rekindling for all of
us what we went through with Jeffrey Fontana.”
Johnson became the 12th officer in San Jose police
history to be killed in the line of duty. Fontana was
Fontana, 23, had finished his six months of academy
training and four months on the streets with a field
training officer when, working the midnight shift alone
two weeks later, he turned his lights on to pull over
De-Shawn Campbell. Campbell made a couple of right turns
before pulling into a cul-desac in the quiet
neighborhood of Almaden and gunning down the rookie.
Officer Tony Vizzusi, who trains new recruits at the
SJPD police academy, was one of Fontana’s best friends.
He helped carry his coffin into the funeral at St. Pius
Catholic Church in Redwood City. Every year, he goes
deer hunting with Fontana’s younger brother and shares
memories around the campfire.
“It’s an unfortunate bond. A lot of people in that class
grew up real quick,” said Vizzusi, whose father and
three uncles were part of the San Jose force. “It makes
you evaluate what you’re doing with your life. You have
to make some serious commitments as to whether you still
want to do this job. The class had to wrestle with that
One of the classmates, who had been on the scene after
Fontana’s death, wasn’t sure he’d stay.
“He saw him lying there. That really affected him. There
were times he wasn’t sure and people were unsure if he
could continue,” Ruybal said. “He pulled through and had
a strong career.”
But a second tragedy? “I was with him yesterday. I can
see this is affecting him a lot. He’s having a hard
In the weeks after Fontana’s death, Vizzusi remembers
“making a plain old car stop and shaking like a leaf.
Over time I found a way to work through that and,
thousands of stops later, I’m not shaking. But I have to
make sure I’m safe.”
It’s still tough for Steve Donohue, too, the first of
the class to be promoted to sergeant.
“Even to this day, if I make a car stop and the guy
makes a couple of right turns, my heart starts to pound,
and I’m more alert and sense a little more danger,”
Donohue said. “That’s exactly what happened to Jeff, a
bunch of right turns and he got him in a cul-desac. I’d
be lying if I said it didn’t affect me.”
Early on, Fontana’s death made classmate Mark Hernandez
“much more timid in how I did things. Do I want to stop
this person? Should I have someone with me? It’s dark,
and no one’s around.”
In the fall of 2013, Hernandez suffered injuries so
serious when he was hit on his motorcycle responding to
a crime — including broken ribs and scapula — that
classmates said they wouldn’t blame him if he never came
back. But he did.
This class of 2001, 31 men and four women, started their
careers at a storied time for the San Jose Police
Department. After 9/11, patriotism and respect for
officers in uniform soared. The Police Department and
its academy became one of the most respected and sought
after in the state, hiring only the top applicants.
Rarely did anyone leave for another job in those years.
After the recession hit in 2008 and the pensions of law
enforcement officers became a focus of budget woes,
battles began between the police union and city
officials. Ever since, officers have been resigning by
“Officers who intended to work with the SJPD for the
duration of their careers, they would have maintained
working here with pay cuts and tough negotiations,” said
Raul Peralez, who joined the force in 2007 and left in
January when he was elected to the San Jose City
Council. He wants to help ease tensions and rebuild the
department. “But the straw that broke the camel’s back
was the environment — the painful feeling of a lack of
respect in just being an employee in San Jose. It wasn’t
just your employer, the City Council and mayor, but also
now the citizens that were turning against you.”
This week, politics were set aside as officers turned
toward each other to comfort and grieve. On Tuesday
night, Jeffrey Fontana’s mother, Sandy, rushed to the
home of Johnson’s mother.
“I needed to offer them support and maybe a little
guidance,” Sandy Fontana said, “and let them know that
they’re not alone.”
In the days after Johnson’s death, as American flags fly
throughout the city at half-staff, makeshift memorials
of balloons and flowers and well wishes have sprung up.
It helps, said Sgt. Donohue.
“I’m thinking, there are some people out there that
still care about us, that appreciate the sacrifices we
make and that we lost a family member,” he said. “When
you see the flowers, or someone at Starbucks says, ‘I’m
sorry for your loss and thank you for what you do’ and
buys us a cup of coffee, it strikes that core within us,
that I am doing the right thing. I am doing something
Donohue and Vizzusi are organizing a gathering for the
class the night before Johnson’s funeral, which will
take place Thursday at SAP Center. Some are flying in
from out of state to join the dinner and remember the
classmates they lost.
At Fontana’s funeral, they all sat together. They’re not
sure if they will this time. They are halfway through
their careers now. They know it is not just their loss.
The entire force is grieving. So is the community,
hundreds of whom attended a vigil Friday night in the
City Hall plaza.
But this class of 2001 carries a special distinction, an
onerous burden that weighs ever more heavily now.
“It’s hard to explain,” Donohue said. “For the last 14
years, people have known our group as Jeffrey Fontana’s
class. That’s kind of how they defined us. I don’t know
what it’s going to be now.”
Photos of San Jose’s 11 officers slain in the line of
hang behind police union President Paul Kelly. Michael
Johnson is the 12th officer killed on duty.
Vizzusi, a friend of Fontana’s, hunts with Fontana’s
brother each year, sharing memories around a campfire.
• • • • •
This article is from last Saturday’s paper…
—System error made tough situation more perilous, union
News — March 28, 2015
SAN JOSE — The mobile computer network that San Jose
police use for many communications failed in the
immediate aftermath of the fatal shooting of a San Jose
police officer earlier this week, a snafu that critics
say slowed critical communication amid the crisis.
While the long- outmoded system functioned throughout
the period on Tuesday evening when 14-year SJPD Officer
Michael Johnson was responding to an emergency call,
union leaders said its predictable breakdown following
Johnson’s death made a tough job more difficult — and
potentially more dangerous during the hours when police
did not know whether Johnson’s assailant was alive and
where he was. The network’s fizz-out left officers,
responding both to the shooting and to calls elsewhere
in the city, having to resort to clogged police radio
channels, their personal cellphones and, failing that,
ballpoint pens and index cards.
“Any time the computer system goes down, it limits all
aspects of what we do,” said Officer James Gonzales,
vice president of the San Jose Police Officers’
Association. “It puts us back to literally a
pencil-and-paper state of doing things. In a city this
large, it’s not an efficient way to work.”
SJPD brass acknowledged that they are aware of the
problem, which apparently has happened many times before
during heavy use of the system. They said that they are
looking to make key technology upgrades in the coming
Officers’ mobile computers connect to their network via
3G cellular connectivity, a technology which is more
than 10 years old and has long since been superseded by
the 4G LTE standard for mobile high-speed Internet.
That’s among the first upgrades the department plans to
make, followed by replacing computers that run the
Microsoft Windows XP operating system, which was
released in 2001 and which the software giant stopped
supporting last year. The new terminals will run Windows
7, which, while now 6 years old, is still widely used
and receiving software updates.
“We know we have a problem,” said Jeff Marozick, the
deputy chief who oversees the department’s bureau of
technical services. “It’s unsatisfactory that there is a
problem, and we’ve been working on it for a while. The
men and women working on the street deserve better.”
Marozick declined to disclose how much the upgrades
The system lockup happened numerous times before
Tuesday, when Johnson and two other officers were
responding to a 911 call involving a reportedly
suicidal, belligerent and armed man at a condominium on
Senter Road. As they approached, police said 57year-old
Scott Dunham, the subject of the call, opened fire on
the officers with a high-powered rifle, hitting and
The communications disruption occurs whenever a critical
mass of users logged on through their mobile data
computers, many of which are mounted in police vehicles.
That was the case Tuesday when officers throughout the
force were frantically trying to find out the fate of
their wounded comrade.
“So many people were trying to access huge amounts of
data at the same time,” Marozick said.
Gonzales said the importance of the system is that it
allows officers to communicate en masse, which leaves
the relatively sparse bandwidth of their radio channels
available for emergency communications. That makes the
computer system valuable for peripheral and ancillary
operations, such as coordinating road closures and other
“When one incident is dominating the police force, the
rest of the city doesn’t get put on pause, and makes the
system all the more important,” he said. “Other things
are handled non verbally in that system, so we can
handle calls without using radio, which is overloaded.”
Amid all the talk about communication problems, police
spokesman Officer Albert Morales stressed that the
officers responding to the fateful 911 call Tuesday were
fully prepared and informed of the situation.
“It unfolded so quickly,” he said, “that the best system
in the world could not have prevented what happened.”
• • • • •
If we go back an additional 24 hours, last Friday’s
paper included this story…
Officer Took Out Gunman
—Report: Pinpoint return fire hit, killed man who
News — March 27, 2015
SAN JOSE — Seconds after Scott Dunham gunned down police
Officer Michael Johnson from the cover of his enclosed
second-story balcony, one of Johnson’s comrades
instinctively raised his AR-15 rifle and fired a
pinpoint shot that took down the gunman.
That detail divulged by police leaders Thursday ended
speculation about whether the 57-year-old Dunham died
from a police bullet or by his own hand, even if it
offered at most fleeting comfort to a department in
The San Jose Police Department and the city continue to
grieve the loss of Johnson, a 14-year veteran who was
married. Two vigils are scheduled Friday night, one on
Senter Road, where Johnson was shot, and the other at
City Hall, and the family and department are still
planning what is expected to be a large memorial
service. Internally, the effect has been pronounced on
different levels. Close to a dozen officers are on
administrative leave per routine policy following an
officer-involved shooting — as either participants or
“We’re all in a heightened sense of awareness right
now,” Assistant Police Chief Eddie Garcia said. “These
officers put themselves in harm’s way time and time
again. We all realize we lost a brother and also that we
still have a job to do protecting the citizens of the
Johnson was one of three officers approaching Dunham’s
condominium complex on Senter Road when Dunham, without
warning, fired at them with a high-powered rifle in what
was described as an ambush.
Johnson was hit, and a second officer, reacting to what
he just witnessed, raised his rifle and fired back,
Garcia said. A bullet sailed through a relatively small
opening at the top of the enclosed, second- floor
balcony, and struck Dunham, who fell out of view.
“Unbelievable bravery was shown that day,” Garcia said.
“Not just by Officer Johnson, but by the officer who
returned fire under unimaginable circumstances. I wish
there was a stronger word than ‘bravery’ we could use.”
Police late Thursday identified the officer who killed
Dunham as 16-year department veteran Douglas Potwora .
While Garcia said the autopsy corroborated the police
account of the violent sequence, he declined to comment
on where on their bodies Johnson and Dunham were hit or
how many shots were fired. The brief gun battle was the
last contact police had with Dunham; a nine-hour
lock-down of the area ensued before police entered
Dunham’s condo and found his body on the same balcony.
The assistant chief reiterated that the tragic result is
something police officers contemplate every day. And, as
if on cue, San Jose police were called out to a domestic
disturbance and possible burglary call in East San Jose
on Thursday morning, with the 911 caller reporting that
someone might be armed.
A large response involving at least a dozen patrol cars
and an armored vehicle carrying the MERGE unit descended
on the home, and the episode ended peacefully with two
arrests. Police on scene said the MERGE detail, the
city’s term for its SWAT unit, was deployed with
Johnson’s death still on their minds.
Garcia said he brought that message to the department’s
two police academy classes Wednesday.
“We hope we train and have the proper equipment so we
don’t have to do that, but we know there’s a chance we
may have to give the ultimate sacrifice to this job,” he
said. “They need to understand and be at peace with
San Jose residents are assembling to mourn and honor the
fallen officer. Dunham’s wife, Altheia Dunham, who was
reportedly the person threatened in an incident that
prompted the 911 call Tuesday, posted a photograph of a
San Jose police badge draped with a mourning band on her
Facebook page. She could not be reached for comment.
WELCOME TO TRUE BLUE WARRIORS.ORG
TBW is an organization founded by Federal Law
Enforcement Agents whose mission is to bring awareness
to the everyday lives of our every day Heroes who "were
born with a soul that has courage to wear the badge"©
and all those working behind the scenes. Though we will
recognize and honor those who gave their all, the main
focus will be on the living and what LEOS from across
the country do on a daily basis Saving, Serving and
Protecting the People ... no matter the color of their
uniform, the shape of their badge nor the signer of
their paycheck. TBW is here to bring awareness of the
service and sacrifices of the Men, Women and 4-legged
Heroes who put their lives on the line with no
hesitation nor reservation...for the People. To give a
small glimpse into a LEO'S daily life and to remind the
People that we too, are human
TBW also does fundraising to help assist our Brothers
and Sisters injured In The Line Of Duty, as well as
raising funds to help vest our 4-legged Warriors, and
get patrol cruisers equipped with QuikClot®. We will
also be promoting and assisting our partner
organizations that also were founded to help our True
Blue Families. We look forward to gathering all our
families with us here.
Our Official motto is "A Family Born Not From A Blood
Line ... But Bonded In Life By A Blue One"©
a story of how this Hero LIVED:
by Nessie for True Blue Warriors
Police Department, California
Officer Michael Johnson
Watch: 03-24-15 (1st of 2 this day)
Police Officer Michael Johnson, 37, was shot and killed
by the person he came running to help (details below).
Born with a soul that has Courage to wear the Badge,
Ofc. Johnson had been Saving, Serving, and Protecting
the People for 14 years. Ofc. Johnson was well-liked and
respected by fellow Law Enforcement Officers for so many
reasons. Brother Mike paid close attention to detail and
kept his 'armor' polished inside and out, knowing he
represented us all, and he did so in the finest of
fashion, serving with Integrity, Honesty, and full
dedication to his oath to the People.
Staying physically and mentally well-balanced, Ofc.
Johnson often reminded those he worked with how
important this is to do this work and he inspired others
to follow suit. Motivational, encouraging, and selfless
with his time to help, Brother Mike proved to be a great
role-model. Courageous in battle, Fearless in the face
of danger, Ofc. Johnson never hesitated to run to assist
and always had your six covered. He was a disciplined
and dedicated Officer, Brother Mike could be counted on
to do whatever was needed and followed through with even
the most mundane of tasks this work entails at times. No
matter if helping with paperwork or leading the charge
into a potentially volatile situation, as a Field
Training Officer (FTO), Ofc. Johnson made certain his
charges were well-informed and had all the tools they
needed to not only survive, but to deal with the public
Ofc. Johnson truly cared about his community and treated
all with Fairness, never prejudging anyone. He knew that
not everything was always as it appeared at first and
worked diligently to sort through all the shades of grey
to find the truths. Even when having to make an arrest,
Ofc. Johnson was respectful and took time to explain his
actions. Ofc. Johnson was also incredibly Compassionate
with those who were hurting or in need of help. He
listened intently and offered words of kindness,
assuring folks that they mattered and he would do
whatever he could to see their needs met.
Known for his funny sense of humor, Brother Mike could
lighten the mood and make things seem not so bad after
all, and anyone working in this field, knows how
important a sense of humor is to keep your sanity. What
really helped Ofc. Johnson stay balanced was his love
and devotion to the martial arts, which he excelled.
This incredible life-loving, optimist was will be missed
by so very many.
This Brave and Benevolent Son, Husband, and Brother of
Blue simply wanted to make a difference in his small
corner of the world. May we take a part of Brother
Michael's legacy with us when we enter into our daily
arenas while continuing to create our own. May we always
remember how he Lived As Only A Hero Could and how his
life was taken when he came running to help someone in
On 24 March 1848hours, San Jose Police received a call
with concerns of a drunk, suicidal family member who may
harm himself. The Police learned while en-route from
follow-up calls that the person has access to guns and
that he may want to harm others. Officers responded to
the apartment complex and at the moment they spotted
someone in an apartment, moving curtains, and without
warning, the suspect began firing on the Officers with a
high-powered rifle. The very Officers who came to help
Ofc. Johnson was struck by the gunfire. Officers fired
back. Unsure if the shooter was hit by return gunfire,
calls went out to secure the streets and the building
was locked-down. Simultaneously, numerous agencies came
running to assist and a manhunt ensued, not knowing if
the shooter fled the scene.
At 0130hours Wednesday, authorities used breached the
suspect's building when no contact was able to be made
after hours of trying. Following a careful, methodical
search, at 0320hours, Officers found the killer
Update 03-26: as the investigation continues, it is now
known that an incredible pinpoint rifle shot from
another officer took out the gunman
Sadly, and with heavy heart, this proved to be our
Brother's final battle ... Police Officer Michael
Johnson succumbed to gunshot wounds and was pronounced
Mike leaves behind his beloved bride Nicole and parents,
Daniel and Katherine. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers
go out to the entire Johnson family, the Men and Women
of the San Jose PD, the numerous agencies who came
running to assist, and to all whom have had the pleasure
and the privilege of knowing and working along side this
True Blue Hero.
Our Brother, as you now patrol the streets of Heaven may
you continue your vigilant watch over us all as we carry
on in the battles to come ... In Our Brother's Honor. We
thank you for your service and for your sacrifice. We
thank you for your life. Job Well Done Sir.
Rest In Peace Police Officer Michael Johnson Badge 3718
... We Have The Watch From Here. SALUTE!
The last San Jose Police Officer killed In The Line Of
Duty was Officer Jeffrey Fontana, who was shot during a
vehicle stop in 2001. Ofc. Johnson and Ofc. Fontana were
from the same graduating Academy Class. Brothers now
In one of the most difficult weeks in the history of
SJPD, the police family has been touched by another
loss. Former SJPD Officer (currently with Los Altos PD)
Christopher Cruzado and his wife Holly were preparing
for the birth of their second child with great
anticipation this past week. They were excited to be
adding another child to their family as they already
have a beautiful 4 year-old daughter. A beautiful baby
boy would be the perfect addition and they were beyond
On March 28th, Baby Elijah was born weighing 6lbs 14 oz.
Baby Elijah appeared to be in great health upon delivery
crying and responsive but just moments later after some
complications, Baby Elijah had passed away.
One of the happiest moments quickly turned into tragedy.
Christopher, Holly, and Audrey (sister) had to say
goodbye to their precious baby boy too soon. Please help
and show support in any way you can. Our hearts are
heavy with sadness and tears. I am in pain with this
Please pray for the Cruzado's that they find healing and
comfort through the Lord at this very difficult time.
I'm hopeful that all of us can help by rallying around
the family. Please note that 100% of the funds will be
provided to the family to help with any outstanding
medical bills, funeral and memorial costs and any other
needs that will help during this time.
Donations can be made
Officer Erwin Martinez
(Close friend of Family)
Gratitude for printing that last article.
(Last week’s Farsider: “They Say—We Say”)
I realize now it was a bit long, and absolutely the
wrong issue for it, but it is what it is. Again thanks
for fitting it in.
The sadness that hangs around my heart over the death of
Michael Johnson can hardly be put into words. I am still
getting over the deaths of the two officers here in
Santa Cruz a little over two years ago. I drive by that
scene several times a week and throw out a silent prayer
each time. There is so much pain and tragedy in our
world today; sometimes it feels very heavy and hard to
bare. I find a little comfort at the beach, the sand,
sun, the breeze. Nonetheless, the pain and sadness
My sincere condolences to all the guardians and
protectors, their families, friends, and comrades. We
Take good care,
• • • • •
As a disabled police officer I still feel the pain and
loss of a brother officer, even if we never met. At my
(our) age I refuse to fight back tears at this kind of
sorrow. My heartfelt condolences to your Dept. and the
family of this hero.
Former Deputy Sheriff, Santa Clara County
Mike is one of several retirees from other local, state
and federal agencies who are Farsider subscribers.
• • • •
Regarding the March 24th tragedy in San Jose, does it
disturb you that SJPD had to borrow the Bearcat armored
vehicle from Sunnyvale DPS? Or that the Chief and
several City Council members stumbled all over
themselves and declared that the MRAP the SJPD received
from the Feds was given back due to complaints that it
was “awful” because it “militarized” the SJPD? Now what
is more "awful,” the possession of an armored vehicle
designed to rescue people and/or protect Policemen who
are in danger from gun fire — or leaving the body of an
Officer lying where he fell for hours while the scene
was secured? I don't have trouble with the question, but
the COP and the Mayor's puppets sitting on the City
Council apparently do.
I think of the anguish that Officer Johnson's family
members felt as the Mayor and the COP told them that
their loved one was still lying where he fell for a
lengthy period of time.
I have also heard comments/complaints that we had to
call on the S/O and the CHP for helicopter support while
SJPD’s helo sat in its hanger due to a lack of funding.
And let’s not overlook the Drone that was also sitting
on the ground due to privacy concerns from some parts of
the community. This is speculation, of course, but had
the Drone been available, could it have spotted the
shooter’s body on the patio much earlier?
The bottom line is that virtually everyone is in
agreement that, given the equipment limitations and a
computer overload, every single person involved did a
remarkable job the night of March 24th which — as FDR
said about Dec. 7th — is "a day that will live in
infamy" in the history of San Jose.
• • • •
I spotted this photo on Facebook and thought it might be
of interest to many of your readers.
Bradshaw — Kim Bradshaw — Debbie Bradshaw
Talking Points <talking.points.com>
First off, thank you TP for not sending in something
controversial this week that would anger most of the
readers like you have the past few weeks. Second, you
have just provided me with a minor clue about your
identity as you have admitted that you have been around
long enough to remember SJPD’S former Asst. Chief who
(if memory serves) left to take command of the Reno PD,
then the Nevada Highway Patrol (or vice versa).
When I received your email with the pic I sent a message
to Brad's Farsider address asking for a green light to
publish the photo, but there has been no reply. I then
reasoned that since he posted it on Facebook, which made
it possible for anyone in the world to view it, he
shouldn’t object to it being seen by his friends who
receive the Farsider, especially since he looks like he
hasn’t aged even a day. In fact, some might say that he
looks younger today than he did when he left the SJPD a
couple of decades ago.
• • • • •
If all former San Jose Police officers who return for
Mike's funeral wearing the uniforms of their new
departments could bee seen together, then the citizens
of San Jose might realize how much the Mayor(s), Council
and the Mercury News has cost them. The expense of
recruiting, selecting and training as well as the value
of knowledge and skills accumulated over countless years
of service is a number too great to comprehend. Gone,
all gone. An asset lost and likely cannot be replicated
in my lifetime.
• • • • •
Friends and supporters of Cancer CAREpoint,
Please join us for our inaugural golf tournament
fundraiser. We are a local resource center to help those
on their cancer journey along with their caregivers and
family members. We help over 800 newly diagnosed cancer
patients every year and all for free. We have several
fundraisers a year to make this happen.
for an entry form and/or to make a donation.
tournament will be held on Monday June 1. Registration
is at 10:30 a.m. with a shotgun start at noon. You'll
tee off at a private country club — The Golf Club at
Boulder Ridge — with beautiful views of the valley. We
hope you can join us for golf and/or the banquet dinner
at 5:30. If not, a donation would be greatly
• • • • •
today. He just finished 18 Holes and wanted to send his
condolences and also tell everyone hello. He looks great
and is still fun to talk with.
If any of Charlie’s friends want to drop a digital dime
on the retired lieutenant and say Hi, this is his
LATEST RETIREES’ ASSN. NEWSLETTER NOW AVAILABLE
HERE to download the March edition of the Billy &
SAN JOSE EXCHANGE CLUB HOLDS ITS ANNUAL BLUE & GOLD
Wake of Officer’s Death, the Injured are Honored—
News — March 28, 2015
SAN JOSE — Three days after a veteran San Jose police
officer was killed in the line of duty — a reminder of
the dangers faced by those in public safety — three
other Santa Clara County law enforcement workers were
recognized for suffering injuries on the job.
Michael Johnson, who was gunned down responding to a
call Tuesday night, was on the minds of the 150 people
who attended the 32nd annual Blue and Gold Wounded in
Service Award ceremony.
Marc Lehmann, left, Asst. Sheriff Carl Neusel, and Asst.
Binder join members of the San Jose Exchange Club on
honoring Officer Michael Johnson, who was killed in the
line of duty.
“This gathering has brought home this week in a tragic
and profound way why we do the Blue and Gold,” said
Phillip Griego, a former president of the group that
sponsors the event. “As long as San Jose Exchange Club
exists, we continue to honor those brave men and women
who daily place their lives on the line for us.”
Those attending the Friday luncheon at the Holiday Inn
on North First Street observed a moment of silence for
Johnson. The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office Pipe
Band then played “Amazing Grace.”
The ceremony was scheduled long before Johnson was
killed in an ambush outside a Senter Road condominium
complex. This year three public safety workers were
Mary Anne Joseph, a correctional deputy, remains off
work after a combative suspect bit off the tip of her
finger at the Santa Clara County Main Jail in December;
CHP Officer Jared Diaz was hit by a car during a traffic
stop and suffered a partially torn ligament in his right
ankle; and San Jose police Officer Bryant Washington
suffered two torn Achilles tendons during a foot pursuit
of an auto burglary suspect.
The Exchange Club gave Diaz and Washington the group’s
highest honor, the Blue and Gold Wounded in Service
Medal “for injuries received in the line of duty,
suffered under circumstances requiring great courage.”
Joseph, a 15-year veteran with the sheriff’s office,
suffered her injury on Dec. 9, while trying to restrain
a combative woman who was in jail after threatening to
jump off the Alum Rock overpass on Highway 101. The
woman fought with San Jose police officers at the time
of her arrest and continued to be combative with
correctional officers once in jail. Joseph was holding
both sides of the woman’s head to prevent her from
head-butting and spitting on the deputies when the
suspect suddenly turned and bit her ring finger.
A jail nurse immediately began treating Joseph and
realized she was missing part of her finger.
Despite the efforts of Valley Medical Center surgeons,
attempts at reattaching Joseph’s finger failed. Joseph
had the tip of her finger amputated and reconstructive
surgery was done. She remains out on injury.
On April 18, Diaz was on patrol with a partner
northbound 101 northbound near McKee Road when they
pulled over a vehicle and stopped on the right shoulder.
As Diaz and his partner Officer Chris Barshini were out
of their car, a vehicle lost control and veered toward
Diaz and Barshini attempted to jump out of the way but
the vehicle struck the right rear of the patrol vehicle
and Diaz in the right leg.
The driver briefly stopped before turning right onto
Alum Rock Avenue and fleeing.
Diaz was taken to San Jose Regional Hospital where he
was treated for a partially torn ligament in his right
The driver was never located.
Diaz was restricted to limited duty for two months and
returned to full duty after his rehabilitation.
Washington was injured on Feb. 13, 2013 while chasing a
vehicle burglary suspect on foot. Washington felt a pain
in his left Achilles tendon as he first started chasing
the suspect. Despite the pain, he continued to run after
the driver through an apartment complex over rolling
mounds of wet grass and mud.
Eventually Washington stopped the suspect with a Taser.
When the Taser went “pop,” so did both of Washington’s
Achilles tendons. Washington crawled to the suspect and
held him down until help arrived.
Washington underwent surgery on both tendons. After 90
physical therapy visits, which lasted about three hours
each, he returned to full duty on Feb 19. 2014.
Washington deals with daily pain but continues in his
goal to make a 30-year career as a San Jose police
The 20-year veteran of the department was the last
recipient to be recognized. Upon receiving the award he
thanked those in attendance, and also acknowledged the
tragic death of his fellow officer: “It’s pretty hard to
stand here and be recognized for anything I may have
done when we have had the things that happened this
A VARIATION OF SUICIDE BY COP
This article with imbedded dashcam footage of a deadly
shootout during a car stop was received from Bob
Tenbrink. The incident appears to have taken place a
little over a week ago in Middlefield, Ohio.
Traffic Stops Leads to AK-47 Gun Battle, All Caught on
Brooke Bosca — <wwwTopRightNews.com>
24, 2015 — Top Right News
One of the reasons many people try and cut police some
slack with their fast reaction times to armed threats
(such as our recent report of a “controversial” killing
outside a wedding) is that deadly force can come their
way at a moment’s notice.
A good example of this happened out of the blue in
video released from Middlefield Police shows a man
shooting at police with an AK-47 rifle during a traffic
HERE to watch the dash cam footage.
Officers pulled over James Gilkerson, 42, of
Mentor-on-the-Lake, on March 10 for simply running a
stop sign. All is quiet for over a minute after the
stop, while officers prepare to ticket him for the
mundane moving violation.
That all changes in the blink of an eye, as Gilkerson
suddenly takes his foot off the brake and jumps out of
the car, firing his rifle right at police.
Officers Erin Thomas and Brandon Savage were injured by
gunfire. Thomas was hit in her shooting hand. Savage was
able to fire back and strike Gilkerson.
Gilkerson then moves back toward his car and yells “kill
me” while continuing to fire shots. Not your typical
“suicide by cop” scenario, to say the least.
A report released by the Geauga County prosecutor’s
office said Gilkerson fired 33 rounds at the officers.
His gun had a 40-round magazine attached. Officer Savage
fired 29 rounds — killing Gilkerson.
Inside Gilkerson’s car, police found multiple loaded
magazines and loads of ammunition, ski masks and gloves,
military-style ammo cans, a scoped .22 caliber rifle,
instructional DVDs and books such as “Kitchen Approved
Plastic Explosives,” “Advance Close-Range Gunfighting,”
Homemade Detonators” and others.
The prosecutor ruled earlier this week that both
officers acted in self defense and would not face any
THE BEST OF THE LATE NITE JOKES
Yesterday presidential candidate Ted Cruz said that he
will in fact be signing up for Obamacare despite saying
earlier that he wants to repeal every word of it. It's a
good thing he's signing up, because Cruz just went to
the hospital in hypocritical condition.
A new poll shows that TV presidents featured on shows
like "The West Wing," "24," and "Battlestar Galactica"
have a higher favorability rating than President Obama.
But he's not the only politician that people prefer
fictional characters to. Instead of Texas Governor Rick
Perry, people prefer any male soap opera actor over 50.
Today Zayn Malik announced that he is officially leaving
One Direction. They asked him, "Where are you going?" He
said, "Another direction."
Kraft Foods and Heinz will merge to create the fifth
largest food and beverage company in the world. The
merger will combine brands like Kraft Mac & Cheese,
Heinz ketchup, Oscar Mayer wieners, and Philadelphia
cream cheese. Or as stoners put it, "Already did that,
Republican candidate Ted Cruz said recently that in the
36 hours after he announced that he's running for
president, he’s raised over a million dollars. And
Hillary Clinton closed her checkbook and said, “Happy to
help. Can't wait."
Ted Cruz raised over a million dollars after announcing
that he’s running for president. Which is why today
RadioShack announced that it is also running for
NASA’s Mars rover just completed its first marathon
after it spent the last 11 years traveling over 26
miles. Of course, the rover from Kenya was able to do it
in just nine years.
It took 11 years for NASA’s Mars rover to go 26 miles.
Or as my grandma calls that, “driving.”
Yesterday, the White House confirmed that President
Obama will meet with Pope Francis during his visit in
September. Some experts are wondering if they'll discuss
their disagreement over contraception. Then Joe Biden
said, “I didn't even know they were dating.”
Yeah, the president will meet with Pope Francis at the
White House in September. The two will meet for about an
hour or so, and then the Pope will spend the rest of the
day hearing confessions from Secret Service agents.
Oprah is auctioning off over a million dollars' worth of
her belongings from her Chicago apartment. Or as she
calls them, "her least favorite things."
Willie Nelson is apparently developing his own brand of
weed and bongs. Which I guess is like his version of
Oprah's garage sale.
There are reports that President Obama and his family
may move to New York City after his term is over.
Unfortunately, the city is so expensive, he's looking
for another ex-president to be roommates with.
Apparently, the Obamas chose New York City because
they've gotten so used to people trying to break into
Governor Chris Christie defended his stance against
legalizing marijuana, saying that any tax revenue
generated from pot sales would be blood money. Then
businessmen in New Jersey said, "Yeah, and we can't have
that sort of thing here in New Jersey."
The White House announced that President Obama will
attend a summit in Kenya this July. When asked if he's
ever been to Kenya, Obama said, “Of course. I was born —
no, bored — over there. There's nothing to do in Kenya.”
According to a new study, the marijuana in Colorado is
almost twice as strong as it was 20 years ago. Of
course, people had some questions for the scientists,
like "How can I get your job?"
Taco Bell is replacing the “Waffle Taco” with its new
“Biscuit Taco,” which is a taco-shaped biscuit filled
with eggs, sausage, or chicken. That story again: Weed
is twice as strong as it used to be.
According to a new poll, Republicans are more likely to
have a doughnut for breakfast, while Democrats prefer to
eat bagels and croissants. While Independents are that
annoying friend who's still looking at the menu after 15
After years of bashing Obamacare, tea party candidate
Ted Cruz just signed up for it. And next week he plans
to get gay married at Planned Parenthood.
A new report says the U.S. faces a severe shortage of
doctors. In fact, things got so bad that yesterday a
triple bypass was performed by Dr. Dre.
NASA's Mars rover has just completed a marathon
traveling 26.2 miles. And once again it was beaten by a
Mars rover from Kenya.
A pitcher for the Chicago Cubs who was supposed to start
a spring training game accidentally drove to the wrong
stadium. The Cubs pitcher realized he was at the wrong
stadium the moment he saw hope in the eyes of a fan.
At March Madness one of the Sweet 16 teams is Notre
Dame. I'm sorry, but if I want to watch the Fighting
Irish I'll visit my parents.
Vin Diesel said that "Fast and Furious 7" will win the
Oscar for best picture. He's being kept in a hospital
overnight for observation.
McDonald's is introducing a Big Mac clothing line. Of
course there already is a clothing line for Big Mac
lovers. It's called a hospital gown.
According to a new study, human waste contains gold and
other special minerals. In the future this could make
things awkward when a cashier asks, "How would you like
to pay for that"?
The NCAA final four is headed to Indiana, where the
state just passed a law that some say discriminates
against gay people. Just wait until Indiana finds out
that all those players shower together.
The ex-governor of Maryland, Martin O'Malley, said the
presidency of the United States is not some crown to be
passed between two families. Jeb Bush said that's true.
It should really just belong to one family.
The Navajo Nation has decided to add a 2 percent tax on
junk food. The junk food tax was opposed by respected
Navajo leader "Chief Binges on Hot Pockets."
As of this week, the only state that President Obama has
not visited while in office is South Dakota. Residents
of South Dakota said they're looking forward to
President Obama or any black person visiting soon.
Nigeria just held their election and their incumbent
president, whose actual name is Goodluck Jonathan, lost
the race. He was beaten by his rival, Betterluck
A Kentucky woman has been arrested for giving a
1-year-old child beer and rum. She broke the Kentucky
rule — never mix beer and liquor.
In Thailand, a man has been sentenced to 25 years in
jail for insulting the king on Facebook. This does not
bode well for next year's Comedy Central roast of the
king of Thailand.
How many of you intentionally don't pay your taxes? Me,
neither. Whenever I go there to my accountant's office,
I'm taken up in the elevator blindfolded. I said, "I'm
worried about having money for retirement." He said,
"Don't worry, you'll get your cut."
We have Donald Trump and Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham all
running for president. It's all part of the Republican
plan to make Jeb Bush look presidential.
And by the way, did you know that Ted Cruz was born in
Canada? Now Canada has released this statement:
"American voters should be aware that while presidential
candidate Ted Cruz was in fact born in Canada, he has
renounced his Canadian citizenship." One down, one to
Mitt Romney, two-time presidential campaigner, will step
into the boxing ring and he will be fighting Evander
Holyfield, who, to my knowledge, has never run for
This Hillary Clinton scandal has to do with emails. All
I get are emails for Canadian Viagra.
Hillary has now erased all of her emails, and she also
had all of her pantsuits dry cleaned.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid says he will not seek
re-election. Harry said he wants to spend more time with
his family. As I always say, check with your family.
We are very close to a nuclear deal with Iran. The
negotiations have been more complicated than a George
The Atlanta Falcons have been fined and lost a draft
pick for using fake crowd noise through their
loudspeaker system at the stadium. The New York Jets do
not use fake crowd noise, but they do have a laugh
Al Gore is 67 years old today. Al Gore, 67 candles on
his cake. There's your global warming.
It was announced that President Obama and his wife, when
they're finished in Washington, are moving to New York
City. The guy just can't get enough gridlock.
Here's the latest on the Iran deal. Iran says they will
not make nuclear weapons if the U.S. doesn't make more
movies with Seth Rogen and James Franco.
Today is the 20th birthday of the Starbucks Frappuccino.
The CEO of Starbucks wrote in his book about the story
of the Frappuccino: "It's experimental, it's
adventurous, it fires people up and engages their
imagination." Does it, though? Seems like a coffee
milkshake to me.
To commemorate this momentous occasion Starbucks is
offering a birthday cake-flavored Frappuccino now until
Monday. Go out and drink yourself a birthday cake. Don't
swallow the candles.
Tonight we have music from Van Halen. I was listening to
their song "Jump." My favorite part is when he says, "Go
ahead, jump. Might as well jump." Yeah, you might as
well. It's not like you had other things to do.
Tonight, from the new movie "Furious 7," Vin Diesel is
here. "Furious 7" is the story of a man who falls in
love with the tailpipe of a Dodge Charger.
Google has received a patent for air bags and bumpers
for the outside of a car to protect pedestrians. The
material has a similar consistency to the memory foam
they make beds and pillows out of. So in the future,
getting run over is going to be a lot more comfortable.
McDonald's is going to test all-day breakfast at their
restaurants in San Diego. Which means stoners now have
absolutely no motivation to get up before 10:30.
All-day breakfast is good for McDonald's customers, but
I think it's sad for the workers. It seems to me the
most fun part of their job was telling people that
breakfast is over.
Has anyone ever had pancakes and French fries together?
What would happen if you did?
In England, Princess Kate started her maternity leave.
Isn't her whole life maternity leave?
Zayn Malik has officially left One Direction. I saw this
coming as soon as he started dating Yoko Ono.
Ted Cruz is signing up for Obamacare. This is like
finding out Jenny McCarthy went in for a flu shot.
Burger King stores in Japan are reportedly planning to
sell Whopper-scented cologne for those special occasions
when you want to smell like the inside of a fat guy's
car. You probably have the surrounding odors. Save your
A new restaurant in New York has just opened and serves
dishes made only from food scraps donated from other
restaurants. Said Arby's, "They're on to us, every man
In some good-luck news, a man coming out of surgery has
won $7 million on a lottery ticket that was tucked in
his get-well card. And after paying his hospital bills,
he still has $900 left.
During a speech on Friday, Senator Ted Cruz said that if
you walk up to someone and say "Joe Biden," the person
will crack up laughing. Which is the same reaction you
get if you say “President Ted Cruz.”
A new study shows that eating chocolate may have
positive effects on the brain similar to exercising.
Said Americans with mouths full, “Yay! I’m exercising.”
The Rolling Stones have announced a new North American
stadium tour. If you want to know if they're coming to
your city, find out if your stadium has a ramp.
It's so unfair. Mick Jagger dances around for three
hours. He's fine. I ran up the stairs today and had to
shut it down for half an hour.
The Cincinnati Reds have debuted the first in-stadium
nursery for moms and babies. So if you're arguing with
your wife about going to a game, and you need a solution
that makes everyone happy, this is definitely not it.
Less than a week after leaving the band One Direction,
Zayn Malik has released his first solo song. It's called
"Oh No, What Have I Done?"
WEEKLY SNOPES URBAN LEGEND UPDATE AS OF MARCH 28, 2015
Did students at Liberty University face a $10 fine if
they missed a Ted Cruz speech?
For the most current (March 21st) update that answers
the question above, click
• • • • •
clip is another example of a skit that only Saturday
Night Live could pull off on network television. It’s a
spoof on the recent Starbucks’ “Let’s Talk About Race”
CAMPAIGN that was recently pulled because it went
over about as well as a phart in a crowded elevator.
• • • • •
We had no
idea that San Jose Cop-turned San Jose
Firefighter-turned San Jose Reserve Officer
KERRY SMITH also had a gig with a band. Take a few
minutes to watch him perform and you will see why he is
known as “The Mad Drummer.” (4:46)
• • • •
positive aspects of having officers wear body cameras,
THIS one of a sergeant saving a child in a fire is
one of them. (2:14)
• • • • •
From Bruce Morton comes another Hope for Paws rescue
THIS one is about a dog that goes from sad to happy
after living under a dumpster for 11 months. (4:06)
another moving dog rescue story.
THIS one is about an abused Pit Bull that was named
Cadence by her rescuers and given a second chance.
HERE to see more videos and/or make a small donation
to help support Hope for Paws.
• • • • •
If you have
6 minutes to spare,
THIS video tells the remarkable story of Omar and
his seeing-eye dog, Salty, who guided him to safety from
the 71st floor of the World Trade Center during the 9/11
terror attacks. (6:31)
• • • • •
Understanding what this guy is saying isn’t important.
The message is this: Pulling the old disappearing food
trick on dogs can be funny, cruel or a little bit of
THIS and you will see what we mean. (1:46)
• • • • •
So what happens when a dog meets this Hedgehog? You will
have to click
HERE and watch the minute-and-a-half clip to find
• • • • •
Dirty Harry once made the statement, “This is a .44
magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world?” But
that was prior to the early 2000s when Smith & Wesson
began manufacturing “THIS
.50 caliber revolver known as the S&W 500, which is now
"the most powerful handgun in the world.”
an acknowledged gun expert and prolific YouTube
presenter who has reviewed numerous revolvers and
semiautomatic firearms. In fact, if you enter the model
of your weapon in the YouTube search field and follow it
with “hickok45” the odds are good he has reviewed yours.
THIS video he covers the .50 caliber S&W 500 magnum
that the young lady fired above.
• • • •
Want to experience the thrill of bungee jumping without
having to change your underwear after the jump? If so,
THIS is the clip for you. (2:20)
• • • • •
These kids dancing the salsa are something to
BEHOLD. They are so good that they would shame the
people you see on “Dancing with the Stars.” At least
that’s what I’ve been told. (I have never seen the
• • • • •
Working on power lines from a ground position is one
thing. Sitting outside of a hovering helicopter is quite
another. Have a look at
THIS Vimeo clip received from Dewey Moore. (3:20)
• • • • •
Wanna go for a ride in an F/A-18F Super Hornet on a low
EXERCISE? You know you do, so hop aboard and hold
• • • • •
Sticking with aviation for a moment, Chuck Blackmore
says Germanwings has begun modifying its A-320 fleet
with the hope that it will solve the problem of one of
the pilots leaving the cockpit…
• • • • •
Pop Quiz: Take your time and see if you can determine
what number should replace the two question marks. We’ll
give you a little help. The answer is NOT 72. The answer
and an explanation will appear the Pic of the Week.
• • • • •
THIS clip of a guy dressed like a speed camera in
the UK trying to slow down motorists. All goes well
until a cop happens by. Watch what happens next. (0:47)
• • • • •
This is Leona Chin, a professional motorsport women’s
racing champion. But the instructors who are about to
each her how to drive don’t know that. Click
HERE and watch the fun. (4:04)
• • • • •
If any of you gearheads see
THIS ’48 Buick Super on the highway and the driver
tries to goad you into a race, turn around the go the
other way. This episode from Jay Leno’s Garage sent in
by Dirk Parsons will show you why. (16:47)
• • • • •
Before you gearheads shut down the computer and go out
to the garage to wax your ride, you may want to
CHECK OUT what was touted as the World’s Greatest
Drag Race for 2014. (6:00)
And if you want to view the World’s Greatest Drag Race
from the previous year, clicking
HERE will take you back to 2013.
• • • • •
Fear not, fellow retirees. With millennials like
THESE about to take charge in a few years, we have
nothing to worry about. (1:05)
• • • • •
HERE to listen to the message.
• • • • •
Pic of the Week
to the Quiz:
What is missing from the sequence of numbers is a 7 and
an 8. As you may have figured out, the multiplier
increases by one with every number. Look at the chart
below and you will see why the answer is 90, not 72.
2 x 3 =
3 x 4 =
4 x 5 =
5 x 6 =
6 x 7 =
7 x 8 =
8 x 9 =
9 x 10 =
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Abram, Fred & Connie
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Babineau, Dave & Cheryl
Bray, Mary Ellen
Brown Jr., Bill
Burroughs, (Bronson) Utta
Carr Jr., John
Carrillo, Jaci Cordes
Clark, Bill (the one who stayed)
Embry (Howsmon), Eva
Foulkes [Duchon], Louise
Gonzalez, D. (formerly D. Avila)
Guido, Jr., Jim
Guido, Sr. Jim
Hare, Caren (Carlisle)
Harnish, Mary (Craven)
Horton, Debbie (McIntyre)
Howsmon (Sr.), Frank
Inami, Steve & Francine
Johnson, Tom & Fran
Klein, Lou Anna
Leonard (Lintern), Lynda
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Schenini (Alvarez), Joanne
Taves, Phil & Paula
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Van Dyck, Lois
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