31st Anniversary of Deaths of Two San Jose Police Officers in Shootout
On January 20, 1989, Officer Gene Simpson was assigned to work in the downtown area on Day Shift. Officer Simpson was filling in as an overtime pay car. Shortly before noon, Officer Simpson received a call of a homeless male acting strangely and causing a disturbance at Fifth Street and Santa Clara.
Upon his arrival, Officer Simpson made contact with the suspect. The suspect immediately attacked Officer Simpson. During the struggle, they both fell to the ground. The suspect was able to get the gun from Officer Simpson’s holster. Officer Simpson ran and took cover. At 1156 hours, Officer Simpson broadcasted that the suspect had his gun and was firing at him.
Rather than safely remaining behind cover, Officer Simpson tracked the suspect so he could direct incoming units. At some point, the suspect realized that Officer Simpson was there and started to chase him around cars while shooting at him. Officer Simpson went down. The suspect fired again while Officer Simpson was on the ground striking him in the head killing him instantly.
Many officers responded to the scene. The suspect immediately confronted officers by firing at them. In the thirty-second gun battle that ensued, the suspect was struck numerous times. Three of the rounds pierced his heart.
As the gunbattle ended, Officer Gordon Silva was discovered down on the sidewalk. Officer Silva was transported to the hospital and was bleeding badly. In spite of the efforts to save his life, Officer Silva’s heart stopped for the final time at 1819 hours.
On January 26, 1989, the Department held the funeral for Officers Gene Simpson and Gordon Silva. Police Chaplain Dave Bridgen said the following at the service, “It’s okay to feel anger and to feel pain and frustration of grief. But, if Gene and Gordie were with us, they would be the first to say, ‘We chose our profession. We knew the danger. We were aware of the possibilities. We knew, and we wouldn’t trade it away. Stand up. Stand tall. Be proud of the uniform. We are family and even though we are gone, don’t let us down. Stand fast.”
Officer Gene Simpson was the fifth and Officer Gordon Silva was the sixth San Jose Police Officer killed in the line of duty.
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Fugitive Watch was founded in 1992 by two San Jose police officers, Steve Ferdin and Scott Castruita. Fugitive Watch is a reality-based television show, newspaper and website, fugitive.com. We can also be found on social media such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. The mission of Fugitive Watch is to make Your community safer by helping law enforcement fight crime. Fugitive Watch brings the community, local business, and law enforcement together to solve crimes, apprehend wanted fugitives and provide education and crime prevention information to the community.
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