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No one hurt in gun battle between Utah police, bank forgery suspect
Crime » Police say he used “semi-automatic machine pistol.”
First Published Feb 06 2014 02:12 pm • Last Updated Feb 07 2014 07:51 am

Magna • A brief gun battle in a Magna neighborhood ended Thursday afternoon with no injuries and a suspected check forger in police custody.

The shootout happened on Oquirlane Street (8260 West), when 33-year-old Michael Joseph, of Magna, pulled out an "automatic-type handgun" and began firing at three police officers who were chasing him, police said. Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal said officers had chased Joseph out of a nearby Wells Fargo, at 8295 W. 3500 South, just before 2 p.m., after receiving a call that Joseph was trying to cash a bad check.

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When the officers arrived, Joseph fled on foot for about 50 yards on 3500 South. He then turned into the neighborhood and opened fire.

Sheriff Jim Winder called Joseph’s weapon a "semi-automatic machine pistol."

Hoyal said the officers returned fire until the suspect dropped to the ground. When the officers approached the suspect to arrest him, they realized the man had not been hit by the gunfire, Hoyal said.

Joseph was expected to be booked into the Salt Lake County jail later Thursday night.

Hoyal said no officers were injured in the shooting, and no residents in the area were harmed by stray bullets. At least one bullet struck a parked car and police were working Thursday afternoon to identify other impact sites.

Kelly Andersen lives just around the corner from where the shooting happened. Andersen was at home Thursday afternoon when he heard police sirens. Moments later, he heard "five or six gunshots."

Andersen said he ran outside and saw a bald man in police custody. The man was sitting in the back of an ambulance and looked like he was high.

"He had his head down and looked all strung out," Andersen recalled.

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Andersen moved to the neighborhood in mid-2013 and said he hadn’t seen anything like the shooting before.

Police were investigating the amount of property damage caused in the shootout, but Hoyal believes it is minor.

Late Thursday, police flew a drone along the route of the suspect’s path to obtain aerial shots for later crime scene reconstruction.

Court records indicate Joseph has an extensive criminal history dating back to the mid-1990s. His more serious past offenses include forcible sexual abuse and assault by a prisoner, court records show.


Twitter: @remims

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