MIDVALE, Utah, Feb. 22, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — The father of a 4-year-old boy who police say fired a gun outside a Midvale McDonald’s, reportedly at his father’s request, had handled the gun before, according to the father’s probable cause statement.
“The driver admitted that was not the first time that his son had gotten ahold of his gun,” says the police statement filed in the case of suspect Sadaat Johnson.
Johnson, 27, faces charges:
- Child abuse — inflict serious physical injury recklessly, a third-degree felony
- Threat/use of a dangerous weapon in a fight, a class A misdemeanor
“This is a child who thought it was OK to pull a firearm and shoot that firearm at police,” said Sheriff Rosie Rivera, Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office, speaking at the scene. “I’ve never seen anything like this in my 28 years.”
The incident began at about 1:30 p.m. Monday when Johnson was at the drive-thru window and believed food items were missing or wrong in the bags he was given.
“McDonald’s employee stated that a customer in the drive through lane had become belligerent and had threatened them with a gun,” Johnson’s probable cause statement says.
Unified Police Sgt. Melody Cutler told Gephardt Daily on Monday that crew members had the suspect pull forward, into a waiting area, “while they remade his order, and of course they called the police and we responded.”
Officers responded to the McDonald’s, at just east of Interstate 15 at 7200 South. For reference, the eatery is about a block north of a Motel 6 with a large sign, easily seen from the interstate.
Cutler said when officers confronted Johnson, “He was not compliant, and would not get out of the vehicle, so officers pulled him out of that vehicle.”
Cutler said the man continued to resist the main officer dealing with him, and “the other officer turned and saw a firearm coming out of the vehicle. He pushed that firearm away, as that gun went off the same time. So he’s got some injuries, minor injuries to his arm from the blast.”
The fired bullet hit the McDonald’s awning, not a person, Cutler said.
A statement from the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office and the Unified Police says the officer “recognized the young age of the individual with the firearm and yelled out ‘kid’ to the other officers.”
That action may have saved the 4-year-old boy and his 3-year-old sibling, who was also in the car, from return fire from other officers suddenly thrust into an active-shooter situation.
Rivera said the officer’s alert “saved a life today. They could have fired back not knowing who was in that vehicle, but they held their restraint.”
Cutler told Gephardt Daily a witness told officers Johnson had directed his son to shoot at police.
“We have a witness telling us that that’s what happened, but we are currently still investigating that,” Cutler said.
Johnson was booked into jail, where he is being held without bail. The two children were released to family members, according to reports.
Violence against officers occurs far too frequently, Rivera said.
“This campaign against police officers, this needs to stop. We’re here to protect and serve, and this is getting out of hand.”