Update: Salt Lake Co. sheriff deputy loses eye in shooting, second wounded deputy released from hospital

Police from multiple agencies on the scene of a shooting outside the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office at 900 W. 3365 South. Photo: Gephardt Daily

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, April 11, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — The Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Department has released the names of the two deputies shot Saturday in an officer-involved critical incident, and of the victim, who died at the scene.

One deputy lost an eye in the incident, according to the statement:

The two deputies injured in yesterday’s shooting are Deputy Joshua Buerke and Deputy Leland Grossett.

Deputy Buerke was shot in the cheek and was released from the hospital yesterday. Deputy Grossett was shot in the eye, he underwent surgery yesterday and is in stable condition, but he did lose his eye.

The suspect has been identified by the protocol team as 31-year-old Joshua Michael Johnson.

“I want to thank the public for their outpouring of support and well wishes for our deputies,” said Sheriff Rosie Rivera. “We ask that the public and media respect the privacy of our deputies and their families at this difficult time.”

The deputies were part of a security detail that patrols the grounds of the facility, which is not only home to the sheriff’s office and the county jail, but also headquarters for the Unified Police Department.

Rivera said Saturday that the deputies had just approached the suspect when the gunfire ensued. She said the suspect shot the deputies with a weapon he was carrying.

“I can tell you this type of incidents are really devastating for the department, and we hope and we pray that our deputies will be OK,” Rivera said. “The environment for law enforcement right now is extremely dangerous, and we know that.”

Gephardt Daily will update this story as more information becomes available.


  1. VICTIM??? Really? I find that extremely offensive terminology in light of the fact that he shot two sheriff’s deputies! He’s not a victim. People who shoot cops are choosing their fate. Please revise your terminology.

  2. Kendra is right. Calling Johnson a victim is ridiculous. He is a “victim” only of his own lawlessness and stupidity. Instead, try “perpetrator,” “criminal,” “culprit,” “wrongdoer,” or “offender.” “Suspect” is not appropriate, either, because this is not a matter of suspicion, but of rather of certainty that Johnson broke the law, and did so flagrantly.

    Great sympathy for the injured deputies, by the way – especially for Deputy Grossett. The loss of an eye is no little matter. Perhaps it will be of some comfort to know that research is progressing toward the eventual development of a synthetic eye.


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