A veteran San Jose police officer was shot and killed Tuesday night, spawning the shutdown of several blocks of the Northern California city as police sought to apprehend the suspected gunman who remains at-large, authorities said.
The incident began about 6:50 p.m., when officers arrived at an apartment complex in east San Jose on reports that a man, later identified as Scott Dunham, was drunk, despondent and possibly armed, San Jose Police Chief Larry Esquivel said.
Because Dunham, 57, had access to weapons, including a rifle, the family member feared he may harm someone.
As San Jose police officers approached Dunham's apartment complex, police say Dunham opened fire, possibly from a porch or patio.
The bullets struck an officer, a 12-year veteran of the police department, who died at the scene.
Several officers returned fire, and it's unknown if Dunham was struck, Esquivel said.
"This is a difficult day for us and our community," Esquivel said. "I can assure you that the person responsible for this act will be apprehended."
Multiple law enforcement agencies, including dozens of police officers, have responded to the shooting scene.
As of late Tuesday, Dunham, a married resident of San Jose, was believed to be inside the apartment, Esquivel said. Police are in contact with his wife, who is not inside the apartment.
Before proceeding to detain Dunham, police were evacuating nearby residents.
"This has been San Jose's darkest hour," said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, noting that he had met with the family of the dead officer.
The idenity of the slain officer would not be released until the family was given "proper notification," Esquivel said.
The officer is the 12th San Jose Police Department officer to be killed in the line of duty since the department's founding in 1849 and the first to be killed since 2001.
The last San Jose police officer to die on the job was Officer Jeffrey Fontana, a 24-year-old rookie with the department who was fatally shot on Oct. 28, 2001, according to the department.