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Salt Lake County deputies recovering after being shot; Suspect dead

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Posted at 11:44 AM, Apr 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-11 00:24:46-04

SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah — Two deputies were shot outside the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office and Unified Police Department headquarters in South Salt Lake Saturday morning.

Shortly before 10:30 a.m., the two deputies were patrolling the complex at 3415 S. 900 West, which also includes the Salt Lake County Metro Jail.

They encountered a man on the grass near the north parking lot, and as they approached him, he pulled out a handgun and shot at them.

Investigators are working to determine exactly what happened, but Sheriff Rosie Rivera said everything happened very fast and at least one of the deputies fired back, killing the suspect.

Both deputies were shot in the face and taken to the hospital.

One deputy was hit in the cheek and is in stable condition. He sustained "quite a bit of damage" to his face, Rivera said Saturday afternoon, but he is expected to be released from the hospital soon.

The other, who was shot in the eye, is in critical but stable condition. He will remain in the hospital for surgery but is expected to survive.

"They have a long time to heal... it's a struggle," Rivera said. "I ask the community to join me in keeping these deputies in our thoughts and prayers."

READ: Elected officials, others react to Salt Lake County Sheriff's complex shooting

Their names have not been released as the sheriff's office works to notify their families.

There were no others involved in the shooting, but other deputies responded quickly to render medical aid.

Police have not yet been able to identify the suspect, but they believe he is in his 30s. Rivera added that while investigators haven't determined a motive for the shooting nor what he was doing in the area, they believe he may have been homeless based on items they found in the area.

"These types of incidents are really devastating for the department," she said. "The environment for law enforcement right now is extremely dangerous, and we know that."

A "Peer Support Team" is helping members of the sheriff's office cope with the incident.

Rivera said the jail will remain on lockdown until the on-scene portion of the investigation is complete.

An officer-involved incident protocol team comprised of other police agencies is handling the investigation.

Rivera said the deputies who work at the sheriff's office complex and in the jail do not wear body cameras. However, she said there is surveillance camera footage of the incident. It is not being publicly released at this time as it will be part of the investigation.

Officials ask anyone with information on the shooting to contact the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office.