Suspect in officer-involved shooting outside jail had criminal record

Apr 12, 2021, 8:44 AM
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Law enforcement officers investigate a shooting outside the Salt Lake County Jail in South Salt Lake on Saturday, April 10, 2021. Two sheriff's deputies were shot and the suspected gunman was killed. Photo: Annie Barker, Deseret News.

SALT LAKE CITY — New details emerged Sunday about a suspect accused of shooting two deputies outside the Salt Lake County jail on Saturday before they shot and killed him. 

According to arrest records and court documents, Joshua Michael Johnson, 31, faced a number of charges in separate cases in 2017, including possession of use of controlled substances and a weapons charge.   

In 2018, he was arrested on suspicion of criminal trespass, false personal information with an intent to be another actual person, and several drug charges.  On New Year’s Day 2021, police arrested him during an alleged drug transaction.  

Authorities believe Johnson was homeless. Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera said the investigation into the shooting turned up a number of items in Johnson’s position that provide evidence for that assumption. 

What happened during the jail shooting

Saturday, Rivera said two deputies on a routine check of the property around the Salt Lake County jail stopped to talk to a man later identified as Johnson. According to Rivera, the deputies said Johnson pulled out a gun and started shooting, striking both deputies. At least one of the deputies fired back, killing Johnson. 

Read more: Two deputies wounded, suspect dead, after shooting near the Salt Lake County Jail

Those deputies, identified as Joshua Buerke and Leland Grossett, both suffered gunshot wounds to the face.  Buerke, shot in the cheek, went home from the hospital late Saturday.  Grossett ultimately went through surgery and lost the use of his eye. However, as of late Sunday night he showed some improvement and moved out of the ICU.


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Suspect in officer-involved shooting outside jail had criminal record