MIDVALE, UT – A 4 year-old child opened fire at police officers with a handgun in Utah earlier this week after being urged to do so by his father while he was being placed under arrest, according to Utah authorities.
A man, identified as Sadaat Shamille Johnson, 27, had driven into a Midvale McDonald’s drive-thru on Monday with his two sons – aged 3 and 4 – in the back seat. Johnson reportedly received the wrong order and in response, “brandished a firearm at the employees” the Unified Police Department said in a press release.
The McDonald’s employees called police, who upon arriving said that Johnson refused to exit his vehicle and had to be forcefully removed; it was at that time that one of the responding officers noticed the shocking sight of Johnson’s 4 year-old child pointing a gun out of the vehicle’s window.
“While taking the male into custody, an officer turned back toward the vehicle and saw a gun pointing out from the rear window,” the press release said. “The officer vocalized to other officers there was a gun while swiping the gun to the side as a round was fired from the gun.”
The child’s shot went into a nearby awning, with the officer who deflected the shot sustaining a minor burn wound on his arm. The officer then managed to disarm Johnson’s son and quickly inform his fellow officers that it had been a child that had fired the shot.
Quickly, police were shocked to discover that the boy had fired the shot at the alleged urging of his father.
“The child who fired the weapon is 4 years old and was in the backseat of the car with a 3 year-old sibling,” the press release said. “Information collected during this ongoing investigation indicates that the father of the child told the child to shoot at the police.”
Johnson had previously been charged with child abuse and threatening the use of a dangerous weapon in a fight, according to county law enforcement records.
UPD Sheriff Rosie Rivera said she couldn’t believe that such a thing could happen.
“To have an adult think it is okay to encourage a four-year-old to pull a firearm and shoot at police illustrates how out of hand the campaign against police has gotten,” she said in the press release. “This needs to stop and we need to come together as a community to find solutions to the challenges we face in our neighborhoods.”
Johnson is being held without bond on felony child abuse and misdemeanor threat or use of a dangerous weapon charges.