Honor Roll

Duane C. Johnson

Officer Duane C. Johnson, 27, a three-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, was slain in a gun battle with the robbers of a Chinatown jewelry store Dec. 19, 1984.

He was the first Los Angeles Police Department officer to die in the line of duty during 1984, and the third to die in Chinatown in the past 14 months.

At the time of his death, Johnson’s wife, Kathleen, was pregnant with the couple’s first child.

Approximately 2,000 mourners attended the slain officer’s funeral, including his twin brother, Dana, a Virginia Beach, VA police officer, and an older brother, Steven, a police officer in Jamestown, New York.

Johnson said he and his brother, who joined their respective forces on the same day, gave 100 percent effort whether competing in high school track, or finding a lost dog for a citizen. “Life is too short to expect less than that.”

“We put our heart and soul into everything, (because) everything matters,” he said. Johnson was described as a “6-foot-4, 240 pound teddy bear” with a passion for the tuba and devoted to his wife of two years.

Johnson had told his wife he wanted to be remembered as a musician, a Marine and a police officer.

Leading the funeral cortege was a riderless horse and a team of officers on horseback, followed by several hundred officers on motorcycles or in patrol cars.

In addition to police Chief Daryl Gates, other officials paying their respects to Officer Johnson included Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, District Attorney Ira Reiner, City Councilman Gilbert Lindsay, Sheriff Sherman Block and Police Commissioners Barbara Schlei and Bert Boeckmann.

Los Angeles Times
By Edwin Chen, Times Staff Writer

A contrite Hau Cheong (Peter) Chan, convicted of second-degree murder in the 1984 killing of a Los Angeles police officer during a Chinatown robbery attempt, was given a state prison term of 38 years to life Sept. 27, 1987.

The sentencing by Superior Court Judge Jean Matusinka capped 1 ½ days of acrimonious wrangling between Chan’s defense attorneys and prosecutor Lawrence Longo over the contents of Chan’s probation report.

That report, still to be completed, would serve as a key document for the state Board of Prison Terms when the time comes to consider Chan for parole, which could occur in about 22 years, according to lawyers in the case.

Archie Nagao, the Los Angeles police officer who was shot but survived the shoot-out, attended the court session, wearing a knit shirt and slacks on a day of vacation. He said Chan’s sentence was “better than nothing.”

Seconds later, as those in the courtroom began to disperse, Officer Nagao and Leslie Abramson, one of Chan’s lawyers, had a sharp exchange that ended with Nagao saying acidly to Abramson, “He’s alive.”

“So are you,” Abramson replied.

“But Duane isn’t,” Nagao answered, referring to his dead partner, Duane Johnson. Nagao then turned and walked out of the courtroom.

Chan had been scheduled for sentencing last month, but Matusinka postponed it after Abramson complained that the probation report contained numerous errors and omissions. Abramson said the report contained “quadruple levels of hearsay going back 12 years.”

Matusinka agreed that the report was “very, very one-sided.” And after sentencing Chan, she order the County Probation Department to prepare a new report, with assistance from Longo as well as from the defense.