A Utah man was arrested Monday after police say he told his 4-year-old son to open fire at officers in a restaurant parking lot.
On Monday afternoon, the man was going through the drive-thru at the McDonald’s at 400 West and 7200 South in Midvale when he apparently received the wrong order. He then brandished a firearm at McDonald’s employees, said Sgt. Melody Cutler with the Unified Police Department.
McDonald’s employees told the man that they were going to fix his order, and asked him to pull around to the front of the building, Cutler said. They then called 911.
When police arrived, the man was sitting in his car. Officers ordered him several times to get out of the vehicle, Cutler said, but the man didn’t comply. Police were able to pull the man from the car, but then an officer noticed that a gun was sticking out of an open door of the vehicle.
The officer pushed the gun away, and then the gun went off, burning the officer’s arm as it did so, Cutler said.
The car’s tinted windows made it difficult to see inside, but the officer saw that the person who had pulled the trigger was a 4-year-old boy. The officer yelled “Kid! Kid! Kid!” to alert the other officers at the scene, “preventing a horrific tragedy,” Cutler said. A 3-year-old girl was also in the backseat.
The round struck an awning on the restaurant, Cutler said.
A witness told police that the man had instructed his son to pull the trigger.
“I’m shook,” Cutler said of the situation.
In a statement, Sheriff Rosie Rivera with Unified Police said: “Officers are here to protect and serve and we are beyond belief that something like [this] could happen.”
The man is in custody and the 4-year-old boy is with family members, Cutler said.
“Does that kid even know what he did?” Cutler said. “Does he understand the realities of all of this?”
Police described the officer’s burn as minor and said the case remains under investigation.