A Magna man was behind bars Friday, booked on numerous felony charges after his alleged attempt to cash a bad check escalated into a running gun battle with pursuing police officers.
Being held without bail in the Salt Lake County jail was 33-year-old Michael Jerome Joseph. Booking records listed charges ranging from first-degree felony counts of attempted aggravated murder and discharge of a firearm to second-degree felony weapons violation by a restricted person and third-degree felony forgery.
Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal said the shootout took place about 2 p.m. Thursday in Magna on Oquirlane Street (8260 West), when the 6-foot-4, 300-pound Joseph pulled a "semi-automatic machine pistol" and began firing at three police officers who were chasing him.
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 911 call that he was trying to cash a bad check, using a fake identity in a bid to access a closed account.
Joseph fled on foot when UPD officers arrived, sprinting about 50 yards on 3500 South into a nearby residential area and then pulled the firearm from his waistband and shot at the officers, UPD said.
The officers fired back, and moments later Joseph dropped to the ground, unwounded, and surrendered. No officers were hurt, either, Hoyal said.
Joseph’s criminal history is extensive, going back to the mid-1990s. Among the charges on his rap sheet are past convictions for forcible sexual abuse and assault by a prisoner, 3rd District Court records show.
Utah Department of Corrections spokesman Steve Gehrke said Joseph served time for the second-degree felony sexual abuse charge, beginning in 1998. Having served his entire 15-year sentence, with one year credit for earlier jail time, he was released in 2012.
— Reporters Jim Dalrymple and Jessica Miller contributed to this story
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