Police update conditions of officers wounded in Taylorsville shootout

First responders on the scene of a Wednesday night, Dec. 1, 2021, shooting that wounded two police officers, one of them from West Valley City, the other from Unified Police. A suspect in the shooting was fatally wounded. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Monico Garza/SLCScanner

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah, Dec. 3, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Officials provided an update Friday on two Utah officers injured in a shootout in Taylorsville Wednesday night.

Police say the suspect, Anei Gabriel Joker, 20, shot a West Valley City officer and Unified Police officer both whom are recovering.

Both the suspect and the two officers were taken to nearby hospitals.

The West Valley City Police officer was initially declared in critical condition; he was then upgraded to serious condition.

“He has undergone two surgeries and is doing well,” West Valley City Police spokeswoman Roxeanne Vainuku told Gephardt Daily.

The Unified Police officer was initially in serious condition and has now been discharged from hospital.

Sgt. Melody Cutler with UPD also provided an update to Gephardt Daily: “He is doing well. He is at home recovering.”

The suspect, Joker, was taken to an area hospital, but did not survive, according to a statement early Thursday morning by the West Valley City Police Department.

“The suspect in this case was a wanted party, for various violent felonies,” WVC Police Chief Colleen Jacobs said in a press conference Thursday morning. “The detectives involved in this incident were specifically looking for this individual. They were able to locate him at the 7-Eleven at 4100 South and Redwood.”

At some point, it was discovered there was an infant inside the vehicle Jacobs confirmed. The child’s parents were also in the vehicle, police said.

Anei Gabriel Joker, 20, sits in the front seat of his vehicle moments before a shootout with police officers outside a 7-11 at 4100 S. Redwood Rd. in Taylorsville, Thursday Dec. 1, 2021. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Monico Garza/SLCScanner

“I can tell you that procedurally, that would change their tactics drastically,” Jacobs said. “Negotiations started between the officers and the suspect in an attempt to get him to release the baby from the vehicle. What I can tell you is that negotiations took place for a period of time. Eventually he agreed to allow the officers to retrieve the baby from the vehicle.”

The baby is approximately 9 months old, Jacobs said.

 

“Once the baby was safe from harm’s way, negotiations continued with the suspect,” she added. “At some point, as you can see from the video that’s been aired, pepper balls were projected into the vehicle in an attempt to encourage the suspect to come out. After a period of time, he did come out of the vehicle, firing a weapon.”

She added that the officers will be offered mental health counseling following the incident. “It is at the forefront of our concern as far as their healing process, both physically and mentally” she said.

It was previously reported the incident occurred in West Valley City; it did in fact occur in Taylorsville, on the border with WVC.

The incident will be investigated by an external agency who was not involved in the incident, as is protocol in an office-involved shooting.

Joker’s Criminal History

  • Aug. 12, 2021: Fugitive from justice warrant issued
  • In Jan. 17, 2021 case: charged with aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony amended to second (guilty); and aggravated assault, a third-degree felony (dismissed with prejudice).
  • In Oct. 29, 2020 case: Third-degree felony discharge of a firearm, amended to class A misdemeanor (guilty).
  • In April 26, 2020 case: Failure to stop at command of law enforcement, a class A misdemeanor (guilty); giving false personal identity to peace officer, a class C misdemeanor (dismissed with prejudice).
  • In Feb. 9, 2020 case: Failure to stop or respond at the command of police, a third-degree felony, speeding, an infraction, no valid license (never obtained), (all dismissed with prejudice).
  • In March 19,2020 case: Aggravated assault, a third-degree felony (guilty).
  • In March 14, 2020 case: Aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony (dismissed without prejudice).

An apology letter Joker sent to a judge can be viewed below.

Anei Gabriel Joker submitted this handwritten apology letter to a judge. Source: Online court records

Gephardt Daily will update this story as more information is made available.

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