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Father charged after 4-year-old son fires gun at officers in Midvale drive-thru

McDonald's Shooting
Posted at 4:14 PM, Mar 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-01 18:35:44-05

MIDVALE, Utah — A man has been charged in court for an incident last week where he allegedly became violent with a McDonald's worker and his 4-year-old son fired a gunshot at a responding officer.

Sadaat Shamille Johnson, 27, was charged Tuesday with third-degree felonies of child abuse/neglect and aggravated assault, as well as a misdemeanor charge of interference with an arresting officer.

The charging documents reveal some new details on what happened the afternoon of Feb. 21 in the Midvale fast food restaurant's drive-thru.

An employee at the window told police that after Johnson started arguing with her about his order, he started swearing at her and slapped the receipt out of her hand. She said Johnson became more agitated, grabbed a handgun that was sitting on the passenger seat and racked it, ejecting a bullet before putting it back on the seat and continuing to argue.

The worker said she closed the drive-thru window, but Johnson then hit the window, picked up the gun and "began looking at it." She said she feared he might shoot her or others, so she backed away from the window and called 911.

As officers arrived and took Johnson into custody, his 4-year-old son pointed the gun out of the car window and fired a shot. An officer simultaneously deflected the gun upward, and the single round hit the restaurant's awning.

Police interviewed the boy after the incident. Officials initially said Johnson had told him to shoot at officers, but the court documents released Monday do not indicate that he told him directly to do so.

The 4-year-old told police that sometime between the heated interaction with the McDonald's employee and when he was taken into custody, Johnson put the handgun behind the driver's seat. The boy said Johnson told him "he didn't want to shoot the lady at the happy meal store" and that "The police officer cannot open the door."

The child told police that he grabbed the gun from behind the driver's seat as his dad was being taken into custody, and he shot at officers "because he wanted his daddy back."

Johnson, after being told his Miranda rights, told police that he "blacked out" during the argument with the fast-food worker for about 30 seconds. He denied brandishing the gun and racking it, but police say surveillance footage confirms that he did. He said he did not teach his son bad things about police, but had taught him to "keep away" from them if possible.

Johnson said this wasn't the first time his son has gained access to a gun, which his fiancee and the boy's mother also said last week following the incident.

Prosecutors wrote in the court documents that Johnson poses a danger to the community, the employee, as well as his children as he left a loaded gun with a round in the chamber within easy access of his children (his 3-year-old child was also in the car at the time).

"The defendant had no regard for the safety of his children or the safety of those around him. The defendant threatened the use of a firearm because his fast-food order was incorrect. Due to the serious nature of the allegations, the defendant should be held without bail," the charging document says.

Prosecutors also consider Johnson to be a flight risk because he moved to Utah just last year and has another child in Georgia. A judge confirmed that he is to be held without bail. He's scheduled to appear in court Thursday.