WEST VALLEY CITY — Two officer-involved shootings in Midvale and West Valley City have been ruled justified by the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office.
On March 20, Granite School District police officer Jonathan Sidhu was looking for truant students near Hunter High School as part of his regular duties. He came across a car parked across from Hunter Ridge Park, 4380 S. 5170 West, with five juveniles inside.
As the officer got out of his car and approached the vehicle he could smell marijuana coming from the window, according to Granite School District spokesman Ben Horsley. When he continued to walk toward the car, the driver "immediately came at him and attempted to run him over," and the officer ended up on the hood of the car.
At some point, the officer pulled out his weapon and fired one shot. The driver was struck.
Jonathan "Johnny" Barajas-Macias, 17, was taken to a local hospital in critical condition. The officer's shot went through the windshield, grazed Barajas-Macias' chin and went into his chest, according to Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill's report. He survived.
Police at the time said Barajas-Macias was not enrolled in school.
Sidhu was treated for road rash and other bumps, the report states. He was also dragged by the vehicle after being hit, the report concluded.
Both Sidhu and Barajas-Macias declined to be interviewed by the Salt Lake City Police Department, which conducted the independent officer-involved shooting investigation, according to Gill.
One of the other juveniles who was in the car told police that he was about to get out when Barajas-Macias told him to "get back in the car, bro." He then "hit the gas" while Sidhu was standing in front of the vehicle with his hand on the hood, the report states. The other three juveniles told police that the officer jumped on the hood of the car, according to the report.
Sidhu was wearing a body camera that day but it was not turned on, according to Gill's report.
As of Thursday, Barajas-Macias had not been charged.
In another incident, on Aug. 15, Steve Michael Darrel Hawkins, 26, was shot by a Unified police officer after stabbing the officer with a screwdriver, according to a second report from Gill. Sgt. Grant Richardson, however, was wearing a bulletproof vest and suffered only minor injuries.
The incident happened about 1:30 a.m. in the parking lot of a closed McDonald's, 425 W. 7200 South. Richardson spotted Hawkins and noted he was acting erratically, the report states. Richardson said he was "yelling and gesturing," according to the report.
When Richardson attempted to have Hawkins sit on the curb and talk to him, Hawkins became angry at the officer and threatened to kill him, the report states. Hawkins attempted to walk away from the officer. But Richardson, fearing he might harm someone, put a hand on Hawkins' shoulder to stop him. Hawkins responded by immediately turning around and stabbing the officer with a screwdriver and then hit him in the face, according to the report. The two then got into a fight as Richardson tried to prevent Hawkins from stabbing him again, the report states.
When Richardson was able to put some distance between himself and Hawkins, he pulled out his gun and ordered him to drop the screwdriver, according to the report. Instead, Hawkins kept walking toward the officer, prompting Richardson to shoot him.
Hawkins injuries were not life-threatening. He was booked into jail after being treated at a local hospital. In his jail mug shot, Hawkins' right eye is black and swollen shut as a result of the fight.
Hawkins currently faces charges of aggravated assault in 3rd District Court for allegedly stabbing the officer. He said he had been drinking that night and had gotten into a fight with his girlfriend and was upset, according to charging documents.