Fallen San Jose officer's family attends Nat'l Peace Officer's Memorial Week event

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - On Wednesday, San Jose Police honored and remembered fallen officers in their department as part of National Peace Officer's Memorial Week.

It's especially difficult this year with the death of Officer Michael Johnson killed in March.

Every year in May, San Jose Police come together to honor their brothers and sisters who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

The guests of honor are families of the fallen officers. Since 1849, 12 San Jose Police Officers have given their lives.

This year, wounds are fresh. Officer Johnson ended his watch on March 24 when he was shot and killed after responding to a call of a suicidal man.

"This memorial is uniquely painful and uniquely poignant with Officer Michael Johnson," said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. "Our community, our city felt an emotional and existential jolt."

As Johnson's sister, widow and mother looked on; their loved one's bravery was remembered.

"We are human not robots, not invincible," said San Jose Police Chief Larry Esquivel. "We are you. We are part of the fabric of this city, country and community."

In the midst of tragedy, bonds are formed.

The last person killed in the line of duty before Officer Johnson was Officer Jeffrey Fontana. They were in the same academy class. Both families are leaning on each other for support.

"I was there just to give them a little bit of support and to let them know they are not the only ones, that I was there for them," said Sandy Fontana who is the mother of Officer Fontana.

As the flags rest at half-staff, officers of San Jose Police stand tall. They are proud of the uniform and proud of their fallen comrades, never forgetting their sacrifice and service.