Police: A school resource officer assaulted by a teen who tried to get her gun, calls on nearby parents to help, tase boy

Local News

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah (ABC4) – A teen boy attacked a high school resource officer Thursday morning, and a group of parents stepped up to help.

Lt. Dan Bartlett with the Cottonwood Heights Police Department said leading up to the attack, a boy was attempting to enroll at Brighton High School when his behavior got out of control and the school’s resource officer was called to the office.

Bartlett said the officer began to escort him out of the school when he strangled and bit her while attempting to grab her gun.

The fight moved outside, Bartlett said, and that’s when the officer called for help from a group of nearby parents.

At the officer’s request, a dad tased the teen, in an effort to help the officer handcuff him and take him into police custody.

While this is not police protocol to ask civilians for help, Bartlett said the officer felt it was what she needed to do.

“It could have been catastrophic if he was able to get the gun from our officer,” Bartlett said. “But she did a good job keeping that gun. And as unorthodox as it is, asking for help from someone; she did what she felt she needed to do at the time to resolve it, and it worked.”

The officer is recovering and will be OK, Bartlett said. Thursday’s incident is under investigation.

“We will review this incident like we do every incident, just to make sure all of our policies were followed and everything was done correctly,” he said. “I know it’s unorthodox the way that this went down, but we just want to make sure everything’s good and we don’t have any problems in the future.”

Bartlett told ABC4 News this is not the first time a school resource officer has been attacked; he said these incidents happen when kids get out of control.

“That’s why we have officers in the school, to make sure everybody stays safe,” he said.

The motive behind the teen’s behavior isn’t quite clear, Bartlett said. However, the teen did tell police he wanted to harm others.

Police are not releasing the boy’s name or age, however, Bartlett said the boy has an extensive criminal history. Bartlett said the teen was treated by medical professionals before being booked into the Salt Lake County Juvenile Detention Center. He faces charges of assault; aggravated assault on a police officer; trying to disarm a police officer; and disorderly conduct at a school.

Bartlett said the case now goes to the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office.

The Canyons School District released the following statement:

“Canyons District applauds the quick actions of the Cottonwood Heights Police, Brighton High employees, and parents who responded to an altercation with an adolescent on campus Thursday morning. We are grateful that those involved did not suffer serious injuries. While we are not releasing specifics about this isolated incident because of student privacy reasons, we want our community to know great measures are taken every day to keep our school campuses as safe as possible.”

In 2019, a school resource officer at South Hills Middle School in Riverton was injured after confronting a man spotted behind the school. Unified Police say the man hit the officer several times with a piece of wood. Another officer responded and tased the suspect before taking him into custody.

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