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Update: Two deputies wounded, suspect dead, after shooting near the Salt Lake County Metro Jail

SALT LAKE CITY —  Two Salt Lake County Sheriff’s deputies are shot in the face after an exchange of gunfire near the Salt Lake County Metro Jail, near 3300 S and 600 W., at 10:29 a.m. Saturday morning.  The suspected shooter has died.

Investigators say it happened around 10:30 when two deputies were doing a security check around the grounds.  Sheriff Rosie Rivera says the deputies noticed the man possibly sleeping on the grass on the north side of the complex

“Something occurred to get their attention to go talk with him and it happened very quickly where there was an encounter and shots were fired,” Rivera says.

While the deputies were checking on the suspect, Rivera says some sort of confrontation happened, although they’re not sure what it was about. 

“He had a firearm, the individual who is deceased.  He did shoot at our deputies, and our deputies shot back,” Rivera says.

Both deputies were shot in the face and taken to the hospital.  One was shot in the eye and will stay in the hospital in critical but stable condition.  The other recovered well enough to be discharged.

“We’re very fortunate that he’s able to go home.  He has a bullet that did graze right through his cheek.  There’s quite a bit of damage on his face, but, he’s coherent,” she says.

Investigators reportedly know very little about the suspect.  Rivera says the man may be Hispanic, approximately 30 years old and appears to be transient.  She says deputies were not wearing body cameras, but the grounds are under 24-hour surveillance so they have video of the shooting.  Plus, she says there were several witnesses who were close when the shooting happened.

Rivera says conditions are becoming less and less safe for law enforcement, and shootings like this are devastating to officer morale.

“It’s tough,” Rivera says.  “Our peer support teams already responded.  They’re working with many of our employees who are struggling right now.”

Responses to deputy shootings

On Saturday afternoon, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) tweeted his condolences for the injured deputies.

 Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson has also tweeted her response to the shootings.