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SOUTH SALT LAKE -- Utah Highway Patrol investigators are searching for a person who shot at a trooper on Interstate 15 Wednesday.
Trooper Randy Riches says he didn't see it coming and considers himself lucky -- the bullet missed him by just several feet.
Riches was northbound on I-15 near the Spaghetti Bowl just after 4 p.m. when he pulled off to the side of the road to finish a report from an earlier stop. Moments later, he heard a loud boom.
I slid down at my seat, took a little bit of cover where I could and tried looking around to see if I could see anybody at the time.
–Trooper Randy Riches
Riches looked back just in time to see his back window shattered. At first he wasn't sure what happened but quickly realized it was a gunshot.
"I thought I'd been shot, shot at," he said. "I slid down at my seat, took a little bit of cover where I could and tried looking around to see if I could see anybody at the time."
Riches took cover behind the seat, waiting for another shot. When he realized the threat had passed, he got out of his car, but didn't see anyone or anything.
The shooting happened just at the start of rush hour. Troopers say situations like this one make a dangerous job even more hazardous. When they don't see what's coming, they can't defend themselves.
"This was really the act of a coward," said UHP Sgt. Anthony Carrubba. "This wasn't like they were involved in any kind of an incident that he was being placed under arrest. Our trooper was sitting on the side of the road and someone took a shot at him."
Investigators have little to go on as far as a suspect at this point. They are asking anyone who may have seen something suspicious in the area at the time to give them a call at 801-887-3800.