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Salt Lake County sheriff’s deputy released from hospital after shooting

Sheriff says security has long been a concern at the administrative building, where civilian employees work.

(Screenshot via FOX 13) Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera speaks to reporters about a shooting that occurred outside the sheriff's office campus over the weekend on Monday, April 12, 2021.

A Salt Lake County sheriff’s deputy who was shot this weekend was released from the hospital on Monday.

Deputy Leland Grossett underwent surgery Saturday after he was shot in the face by a man outside the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office in South Salt Lake.

Grossett lost an eye, but he is in “good spirits,” Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera said during a news conference Monday. “I know it’s a challenge and a struggle for him, but today he was able to stand and walk,” she said, adding that he and his family have asked for privacy while he recovers.

Another deputy, Joshua Buerke, was shot in the cheek. He was hospitalized but went home Saturday.

Deputies shot and killed the gunman, who was later identified as Joshua Michael Johnson, an apparently transient man in his early 30s. The investigation is ongoing, and Rivera did not share information about why Johnson was outside the sheriff’s office or what led to the shooting.

Several other deputies who responded to the shooting have been placed on administrative leave, Rivera said, to allow them to look after their mental health.

“I feel like I’m a mother over all these deputies, and [when] something like this happens, it’s a challenge,” she said. " … They’re so strong and they’re an example for the rest of us.”

Deputies Grossett and Buerke had been assigned to provide security at the sheriff’s office campus Saturday, which includes the Salt Lake County Metro Jail, along 900 West in South Salt Lake. The shooting happened on the lawn outside the administrative building, where investigations are conducted and where forensics staff and other employees of the sheriff’s office and the Unified Police Department work.

Rivera said the sheriff’s office put in a budget request last year to increase security around the administrative building. She said ongoing security concerns are not just about this weekend’s shooting, but also “the climate against law enforcement right now.

“We have to make sure that we do everything we can to protect our employees,” she continued, adding that civilian employees work in the administrative building. “Our priority is them as well, because we can’t do our job without our civilian staff. … We are going to continue looking at more security and more surveillance cameras.”

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