SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The family of one of the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s deputies shot in the face over the weekend say their “hearts go out to the family” of the suspect involved.
Deputy Joshua Buerke was one of two shot during an incident on Saturday. He was released from the hospital on the same day.
The second deputy, Deputy Leland Grossett was shot in and unfortunately lost his eye. He was released from the hospital on Monday. Deputy Buerke, along with several other law enforcement and first responders, were there to escort Deputy Grossett from the hospital.
According to the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office, at 10:29 a.m. Saturday, two deputies were performing routine perimeter security when they encountered a man in his 30s on the lawn of the Sheriff’s Office Building.
Authorities say the man produced a handgun and began to fire at the deputies as they approached him. Both deputies were shot in the face during an exchange of gunfire.
At least one deputy returned fire, but Rivera says it is unclear which deputy discharged their weapon. The suspect, 31-year-old Joshua Johnson, was confirmed dead by the Officer-Involved Critical Incident protocol team.
Court documents show Johnson was on probation at the time of the incident for possession or use of a controlled substance and using false personal information with the intent to be another person.
On Tuesday, the family of Deputy Buerke released the following statement:
Our family is grateful that Josh is here today. We are thankful for the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office and all their support. They have taken great care of our son and we have seen firsthand that they truly are a family.
Leland put his life on the line along with our son, we are wishing him a speedy recovery and know that he and Josh will be able to lean on each other through their recovery.
We recognize that a life was lost in this incident and our hearts go out to that family of that suspect.
Our family knows that Josh is strong, and that this situation will show strength to his colleagues and community. He loves his job and his recovery is going well.
We want to thank all the agencies that responded to the officer down call, including, UPD, West Valley PD, South Salt Lake Police and Fire, Salt Lake City, and the Intermountain Medical Center Trauma Team.