Two Deputies Injured, Suspect Killed In Shooting At Salt Lake County Jail
Apr 10, 2021, 11:45 AM | Updated: 10:30 pm
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SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah – Police officers from multiple agencies responded to a shooting at the Salt Lake County Jail that left two deputies injured and one person dead.
Officials with the Unified Police Department confirmed the shooting occurred at the jail just before 10:30 a.m. Saturday and said the South Salt Lake Police Department was leading the investigation.
The shooting occurred on the lawn north of the campus, which is home to the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office, county jail and UPD headquarters.
Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera said two deputies were on their normal patrol outside when they saw a man in the parking lot grassy area of their headquarters. They approached the man, and that’s when Rivera said he started shooting at the deputies.
“It happened very quickly,” said Rivera.
Rivera said one deputy was shot in the face, while another was shot in the eye during the incident.
Deputies then shot back at the suspect, according to the sheriff.
UPDATE: Sheriff says man was on grassy area next to @UPDSL building. Chain of events unclear but led to exchange of gunfire. Man, armed and possibly transient, is deceased. Two deputies shot. One expected to be released soon, other in critical but stable condition @KSL5TV #Utah pic.twitter.com/4jMXBP7scW
— Andrew Adams (@AndrewAdamsKSL) April 10, 2021
Rivera confirmed the suspect was hit and killed.
Investigators were working to identify him, but the sheriff said the suspect appeared to be a transient, and was approximately 30 years old, possibly Hispanic, but that has not been confirmed.
“This is shocking to our community… and everybody that has anything to do with our jail,” said Rivera.
An officer-involved critical incident protocol team was immediately activated.
Rivera: Suspect is approximately 30-years-old. Investigators are trying to ID him. He is possibly Hispanic, but that has not been confirmed. They don't know what he was doing on the grounds.
— KSL 5 TV (@KSL5TV) April 10, 2021
“As I told you, it’s the first time in my life that it happened,” said Roberto Peralta who was across the street when the shooting occurred. “I got scared when I saw the guns, and then the guy next to me, he tells me that somebody got shot, and I was like, ‘nah, that can’t be real.'”
Witnesses described the scene as scary and chaotic.
“I don’t understand what happened, to be honest. It just doesn’t make sense to me,” said Peralta.
#UPDATE– @SLCO_OOTS Sheriff Rosie Rivera says both deputies are expected to survive. 1 may be released soon & other is going into surgery- both have long road to recovery. Deputies ID’d pending next of kin notifications. Deputies are partners, part of campus security. @KSL5TV pic.twitter.com/QtaPyVFUJZ
— Garna Mejia KSL (@GarnaMejiaKSL) April 10, 2021
Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera says both deputies who were shot today will survive. One could be released from the hospital tonight. The other was shot in his eye and going through surgery. Full details on @KSL5TV in 5 minutes. #ksltv @UPDSL pic.twitter.com/fBMELoNaHN
— Alex Cabrero (@KSL_AlexCabrero) April 10, 2021
Rivera said the deputies are part of the Movement, Critical Incident Response Team (MCIRT) that typically handles security around the campus.
“Both great individuals. They’re strong and they’re partners,” she said.
During her second press conference at 2:30 p.m., Rivera said the deputy who was shot in the face was in stable condition and may soon be released from the hospital. The second deputy who was shot in the eye was in critical, but stable condition and was undergoing surgery at the hospital.
“They have a long time to heal and it’s a struggle,” she said. “We’re just fortunate that they weren’t killed.”
Rivera said multiple police agencies have reached out to assist, as well as offer comfort and support.
“Law enforcement sticks together in this type of thing. It’s tragic and we’ll be okay, but this could have been a lot worse,” she said.
Gov. Spencer Cox responded to the shooting, calling it an ‘awful tragedy’ and saying he and his wife Abby were praying for the two deputies.
Such an awful tragedy outside the Salt Lake County Jail today. Abby and I are praying for the two deputies fighting for their lives.
— Utah Gov. Spencer J. Cox (@GovCox) April 10, 2021
The Utah Attorney General’s Office also releasing a statement saying these officers go to work every day to protect our community, which includes our prisons and jails, and they do so with no idea what threats will come each day.
Attorney General Sean Reyes called their sacrifices ‘unmeasurable and unimaginable.’
— Utah Attorney General (@UtahAG) April 10, 2021
Rivera said the investigation will continue “for quite some time” as quite a few witnesses to the shooting were being interviewed.
The Salt Lake County Jail will remain on lockdown until investigators are finished with the scene, according to Rivera.
Authorities have not released the names of the injured deputies or the suspect.