SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (AP) — Two Salt Lake County sheriff’s deputies were wounded — one shot in the eye and the other in the cheek — and the suspect was killed during a shootout Saturday morning outside the county jail.
Officials said both deputies were taken to a hospital and were expected to survive. Their identities were not immediately available.
Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera said in a news conference that the two injured officers were partners and worked as part of campus security.
The deputy shot in the eye is in critical but stable condition and undergoing surgery, officials said.
“We do believe he is going to survive,” Rivera said.
The other deputy was grazed in the cheek by a bullet and is expected to be released from the hospital soon, officials said.
“It could have been a lot worse,” Rivera said, adding that officials have surveillance video of the shootout.
Rivera said the suspect, a man who appeared to be about 30 years old, is not known to the department and appeared to be a transient.
“We don’t know what their intent was,” Rivera said of the suspect.
The suspect was carrying a weapon and opened fire as deputies approached him on a lawn outside the jail around 10:30 a.m., Rivera said. She did not know if one or both deputies returned fire, or how many shots were fired.
The officers were assigned to provide security at the sheriff’s campus, which includes the Salt Lake County Metro Jail, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
“What that requires them to do is to drive around the campus and make sure things are secure and also to render aid if anybody needs aid,” Rivera said. “This individual may have been on the grass. We don’t know if he was asleep or not, but something occurred to get their attention to go talk with him. And then it happened very quickly where there was an encounter and shots were fired.”
“We are just fortunate that they weren’t killed,” the sheriff said.