Salt Lake County Sheriff’s deputies shot in altercation with fugitive

The extraordinary risk assumed by America’s law enforcement officers on a daily basis was again brought into stark relief by a harrowing incident in Utah that occurred over the weekend.

The Washington Examiner reports that two sheriff’s deputies sustained gunshot wounds on Saturday morning while patrolling the area near the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s office in a bizarre encounter with a man later revealed to be a fugitive from the law.

The incident began to unfold around 10:30 a.m. when the two deputies approached an individual who was resting on a grassy area near the office building and the man in question began shooting. One of the deputies was hit in the face, the other in the eye, and in the ensuing melee, the assailant was fatally wounded in “an exchange of gunfire,” according to the Examiner.

Local CBS affiliate KUTV reported that the injured deputies, Joshua Buerke and Leland Grossett, are both expected to survive, though Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera stated, “We’re just fortunate they weren’t killed,” and that “they have a lot to go through,” the Examiner further noted.

The identity of the now-deceased suspect in the incident was subsequently revealed as that of 31-year-old Joshua Johnson, and court records indicate that he was a fugitive from justice at the time of his demise.

According to a report obtained by KUTV, corrections agents from Utah Adult Probation and Parole said that the suspect had departed a residential treatment program without prior permission and “against clinical advice,” a violation of the terms of probation he had received as the result of a series of drug arrests spanning recent years.

During a press conference on Saturday, Sheriff Rivera asked the community to keep the injured law enforcement officers in their thoughts as they continue the process of recovery, also asking “that the public and media respect the privacy of our deputies and their families during this difficult time,” as Salt Lake City NBC affiliate ABC4 noted.

Surely echoing the sentiments of many around the country, Rivera also observed that “the job of law enforcement is becoming more and more dangerous,” adding that she is “grateful to have deputies like these who are willing to put their lives on the line in the name of public safety.”

In light of the ever-escalating attacks on the integrity of America’s law enforcement officers from activists on the left, Rivera’s words are indeed well-taken and are a stark reminder of the debt of gratitude we all owe to those who protect and serve on a daily basis.