Father charged for his 4-year-old firing a gun outside a McDonald’s
Mar 1, 2022, 2:47 PM | Updated: Mar 2, 2022, 7:44 am
(Meghan Thackrey/KSL TV)
MIDVALE, Utah — Prosecutors have charged the man whose 4-year-old son fired a gun outside a McDonald’s in Midvale last week.
Sadaat Johnson is now facing charges of child abuse, neglect, and aggravated assault. He’s also charged with interfering with an arresting officer.
Police say the situation started in the drive-thru when Johnson got upset because his order wasn’t correct. Restaurant workers told police that Johnson brandished a weapon at one point, which is when they called police.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said, “There is a weapon that he flashes and racks it, which is confirmed by the person who was there and was frightened that he was going to use it on them.”
At the time, investigators had reason to believe Johnson instructed the child to shoot.
“You know, this is a sad day for us because the person who pulled that trigger was 4-years-old,” Unified Police Chief Rosie Rivera said last week, visibly upset. “Just think. The gravity of that. A 4-year-old was told, we believe by the father, to pull the trigger and shoot a police officer.”
Now, prosecutors can’t say, for certain, if Johnson instructed the child to fire the gun. However, Gill says Johnson placed the gun in the back seat, making it easy for the boy to reach.
“He puts the gun behind (in the back seat) which was accessible to a child who actually handles the weapon,” Gill said.
Gill says this put the child in immediate danger, which is where the child abuse charges stem from. Charging documents say Johnson didn’t teach his son to hate police, but he instructed the child to stay away from them. The child was also interviewed by investigators, and reportedly said he fired at the officer to “get his daddy back.”
Investigators say this is not the first time the boy has handled a gun.
“Nobody would disagree that we should not be giving access to children with loaded firearms, especially four-year-olds,” Gill said. “It’s an unfortunate set of things that could have turned very tragic.”
The boy wasn’t hurt. The Unified Police officer who deflected the child’s shot suffered just a minor injury in the process. Johnson reportedly told investigators he “blacked out” and doesn’t remember flashing a gun at the McDonald’s employee.