SALT LAKE CITY — The two deputies who were shot in the face at the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday are recovering from their injuries.
Salt Lake County sheriff’s deputy Joshua Buerke was shot in the cheek and was treated and released from the hospital on Saturday following the exchange of gunfire outside the complex that includes both the sheriff’s office headquarters and the county jail, near the corner of 3300 South and 900 West.
The gunman was identified as Joshua Michael Johnson, 31. Based on the number of items he had with him, Rivera said Saturday investigators believe he was homeless.
Deputy Leland Grossett was shot in the eye. He underwent surgery on Saturday and the agency reports that Grossett remains hospitalized and is in stable condition, but he did lose his eye.
Grossett’s family said in a statement that he was moved out of the intensive care unit on Sunday and that the medical team’s “quick response” likely made for a better outcome for him.
“We are thankful that he is alive and looking forward to bringing him home soon.”
Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera shared her appreciation Sunday for the concern shown for the deputies and asked for privacy for them and their families.
“I want to thank the public for their outpouring of support and well-wishes for our deputies,” she said in a statement.
The shooting occurred north of the Sheriff’s office at about 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. The two deputies were conducting a routine check of the property and were shot during an exchange of gunfire with Johnson, who pulled out a gun when the deputies stopped to talk to him. Rivera reported on Saturday that at least one deputy returned fire.
Witnesses in the area reported hearing up to four gunshots.
Johnson was killed at the scene.
The Grossett family statement read: “One man’s life was lost in this shooting and we want to express our condolences to his family. We hope they are able to find peace and know that we harbor no ill will.”
Grossett’s recovery “is our biggest priority,” the family said. After thanking well-wishers, the family asked for privacy.
Utah court records indicate that Johnson is a repeat offender, having been charged with multiple felony and misdemeanor offenses, including drug possession, theft, lying to police and unlawful possession of a dangerous weapon.
Rivera said support is available to officers and staff as they cope with “this critical incident.”