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Utah man shot during emergency room incident pleads guilty

Published July 30, 2014 9:25 pm

Courts • Jason Burr was shot by Corrections officer after brandishing two guns.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Logan • When Jason James Burr brandished two handguns in a North Logan emergency room one day in May, it was a cry for help, his attorney said Wednesday.

He went to that emergency room in pain, attorney David Perry told reporters after his client pleaded guilty to reduced charges. He was suicidal and thought a police officer might kill him.

"His behavior in the emergency room — he did have the guns out," Perry said. "He was not pointing them at people. He was not threatening. It was basically a cry for help."

If Burr's actions on May 16 — when he entered the Cache Valley Hospital's emergency room armed with two handguns and demanded to see a doctor before he was shot by an Adult Probation and Parole agent — were a cry for help, Cache County Attorney James Swink said Wednesday they weren't appropriate.

"It was not an appropriate cry for help to take guns into a public place," Swink said. "To rack a bullet into a chamber and tell people that someone is going to die today. That's an inappropriate cry for help. There are cries for help which are appropriate which are done every single day."

Burr was scheduled to be in Logan's 1st District Court Wednesday for a preliminary hearing, where prosecutors would present evidence and a judge would decide whether there was probable cause for him to stand trial on charges. But after over an hour delay, attorneys told the judge instead that they had come to a plea negotiation.

Burr pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree felony aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon, along with one count each of third-degree felonies aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon and use of a firearm by a restricted person. Five other counts were dismissed.

Burr, 34, faces up to 25 years in prison when he is sentenced Sept. 15 by Judge Thomas Willmore.

Burr was initially charged with eight criminal charges: one count of attempted aggravated robbery, three charges of aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon, two counts of purchase or use of a firearm by a restricted person and two charges of carrying a concealed, dangerous and loaded weapon.

Swink told the judge Wednesday that Burr had gone to his doctor the day before the shooting asking for more pain medication.

"He had received two weeks prior, a prescription for Percocet to last two weeks," Swink said. "It had been used in under a week … the doctor declined to issue him anymore."

Perry said his client was using the medication because he had back problems that had been made worse by a recent car accident.

Later the evening of May 15, Burr went to an emergency room doctor, who also declined to give him Percocet and instead prescribed ibuprofen.

The next day, Burr staggered into the emergency room and asked the clerk, "Were police in cars here?" according to a report by the county attorney's office. Burr then told the clerk to call SWAT.

"I need to report a domestic," he allegedly told the clerk. "She is in the car outside.'"

Burr then allegedly pulled out a silver semiautomatic handgun and, when confronted by a security guard, demanded to see his doctor, according to the report.

"Someone is going to die today," Burr allegedly told the security officer, now holding two handguns — a 9mm in his right hand and a .38-caliber Derringer in his left.

The report said that soon after Burr pulled out the two weapons, two AP&P agents guarding a prisoner in the hospital came to the emergency room waiting area.

Agent Clint Lund positioned himself behind Burr and demanded that he drop the gun.

"Upon hearing Agent Lund, Burr turned to face him and pointed the gun in his right hand toward him," the county attorney's office report reads. "Agent Lund fired three shots at Burr."

After falling to the ground, Burr still had the two guns in his hands and "was moving them," according to the attorney's office. Lund fired one more shot at Burr.

"At this point, Burr surrendered, dropped the guns, and asked Agent Lund to stop," according to the report.

Burr was immediately taken to the ER for treatment. He was shot in the left arm, the right groin and the left side of the chest, according to the attorney's office.

jmiller@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jm_miller