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UPDATE: Salt Lake County deputies wounded in shootout are identified

SALT LAKE CITY –The Salt Lake County Sheriff’s office has identified two deputies wounded in a shootout Saturday on the campus of the Salt Lake County Metro Jail.

Deputy Joshua Buerke was shot in the cheek and was released from the hospital on Saturday. Deputy Leland Grossett was shot in the eye. He underwent surgery Saturday and is currently in stable condition according to the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office

The man who reportedly fired a weapon at both deputies is Joshua Michael Johnson, 32. He was killed when the deputies returned fire.

PREVIOUS REPORTING:

SALT LAKE CITY — An armed suspect involved in a shootout with two Salt Lake County Sheriff’s deputies on Saturday morning began firing on the deputies not long after they approached him.

Deputies were patrolling the jail campus

Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera told media representatives that two deputies were patrolling the campus of the Salt Lake County Metro Jail near 900 W. and 3300 S. when they saw a man on a grassy area near the jail.

“We don’t know if he was asleep or not, but something occurred to get their [the deputies’] attention,” Rivera said. “And then it happened very quickly, where there was an encounter and shots were fired.”

Rivera said the individual was armed with his own weapon. “He did shoot at our deputies, and our deputies shot back.”


 

Rivera said both deputies were injured by gunfire. One deputy was 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 said.

The other deputy remains hospitalized.

“We do believe that he is going to survive,” Rivera said of the second deputy who will remain hospitalized.  “The last update I received was that he is going to be going in for surgery. He was shot in the eye.’

Not much known about the suspect

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.”