Remembering Gordon Silva and Gene Simpson

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On January 20, 1989, Officer Gene Simpson was assigned to work the downtown area on day shift. Shortly before noon, Officer Simpson received a call of a homeless male acting strangely and causing a disturbance at Fifth and Santa Clara Streets. Upon arrival, Officer Simpson made contact with the suspect.
The suspect immediately attacked Officer Simpson and during the struggle, both fell to the ground. The suspect disarmed Officer Simpson forcing Officer Simpson to run and take cover. Officer Simpson then broadcasted that the suspect had his gun and was firing at him.
Officer Simpson then tracked the suspect so he could direct incoming units. At some point, the suspect realized that Officer Simpson was nearby and started to chase him around cars while shooting at him. Officer Simpson was hit and went down. The suspect fired again at close range killing him instantly.
Numerous officers responded to the scene and were confronted by the suspect firing at them. In the thirty-second gun battle that ensued, the suspect was struck numerous times. Three of the rounds fatally wounded the suspect. As the gun battle ended, Officer Gordon Silva was located down on the sidewalk. Officer Silva was transported to San Jose Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
Officer Gene Simpson was the eighth and Officer Gordon Silva was the ninth San Jose Police Officer killed in the line of duty.

4 Thoughts on “Remembering Gordon Silva and Gene Simpson

  1. I vividly remember that horrific day in front of Winchells Donuts at 5th and Santa Clara Street. Gene, after being disarmed, frantically sought cover from the wild man stalking him, but as stated above, was wounded and then executed by this wild man….. Gordie arrived at the scene, gun drawn, and took cover behind a mail drop box on the SE corner. Arriving units approached from the west on Santa Clara St , also hand guns/shotguns at the ready. They confronted the suspect who was wildly waving (shooting?) Gene’s service revolver. In a firefight with multiple discharges the arriving officers took the suspect out. They did not see Gordie crouched down behind the mail drop box that was in their field of fire. To my knowledge Gordie was struck by a single 9MM shotgun pellet that ricocheted off the pavement in front of the mailbox, passed under the mailbox and entered Gordie’s lower abdomen- just below his protective vest- and severed an artery causing massive bleeding. ( Another inch or two of protective vest would have saved Gordi’s life). The doctors at SJ Hospital, in spite valiant efforts, could not keep Gordie alive and he expired in the ER. Almost the entire incident was recorded by a student video crew from Santa Clara University filming a class project from the church across the street. The infamous Winchells Donuts has since been razed and is the present site of San Jose City Hall… Let us all remember Gene and Gordie who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Love your families and be safe.

  2. Gene was a good man and a great partner. He was driving the patrol car when a guy on a dirt bike tried to outrun us. He was heading for one of the few orchards on the East side by Capitol Expressway. Gene drove up alongside him while I leaned out the window and whacked with my baton, chase was over.

  3. Gordy worked with me in my district D-S shift prior to him losing his life. I was working the City Attorneys Office when it occurred and got paged to respond. Horrible day for everyone involved. So sad for everyone involved. Part of a job we all took, not necessarily realizing what we were getting into. RIP my many friends.♥️

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