Salt Lake County police release names of deputies, suspect involved in shooting outside county jail


The Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office has released new details on the two hospitalized deputies and suspect involved in a shooting on the lawn of the Salt Lake County Metro Jail on Saturday.

The victims have been identified as Deputy Joshua Buerke and Deputy Leland Grossett, while the suspect has been identified as 31-year-old Joshua Michael Johnson. 

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Sheriff Rosie Rivera told reporters on Saturday that Buerke and Grossett were part of a campus security team patroling the area when they encountered Johnson on the lawn north of the Sheriff’s Office Building.

“We do not know what he was doing here on the grounds,” Rivera said, adding that officials believe Johnson might have been experiencing homelessness. “The deputies were going to check up on him when something occurred.”

Johnson, who proceeded to exchange gunfire with the officers, was killed during the incident, Rivera added. 

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According to the latest update by police on Sunday, Deputy Buerke, who was shot in the cheek during the incident, has been released from the hospital following treatment. 

Meanwhile, Deputy Grossett underwent surgery on Saturday after being shot in the eye. He currently remains hospitalized but is in stable condition and did not lose his eye. 

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

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Following the shooting on Saturday, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox called the incident “an awful tragedy” and that he and Mayor Jenny Wilson were praying for the two deputies. 

Wilson added that everyone in Salt Lake County is “grateful for the sacrifice that law enforcement makes each day” and that their “hearts and hopes are with the deputies and their families.” 

The SLCO noted that it is providing peer support to any Salt Lake County officer who requires help coping with the incident. Johnson’s motive for the incident still remains unknown and is under investigation. 

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