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WEST JORDAN — A father whose 4-year-old son fired a gun at police was ordered to spend 120 days in jail at a sentencing hearing on Wednesday.
Sadaat Shamille Johnson, 27, pled guilty on March 24 to child abuse or neglect and aggravated assault, both third-degree felonies. A misdemeanor charge for interfering with a police officer was dismissed.
In February, police were trying to arrest Johnson after it was reported he became angry when his McDonald's order was incorrectly filled. Employees at the Midvale McDonald's told him they would bring him a correct order and asked him to wait in his car, but they instead called police and told them he had brandished a firearm, according to court documents.
Unified police were attempting to pull Johnson out of his car when they noticed a firearm pointing toward them in the back seat. An officer was able to push the barrel and redirect the shot, which instead hit the awning at McDonald's, court documents state. The officer also recognized it was a child holding the gun and police did not return fire, for which they were later praised.
Third District Judge Kristine Johnson said this is an unusual situation, noting the man's lack of criminal history and lifestyle, but said the situation was serious.
"This could have been much, much worse than it was. I think that everybody involved knows that," she said.
The judge issued a sentence of up to five years in prison for the aggravated assault charge, which would run concurrently with a 180-day sentence for child abuse or neglect. The judge suspended these sentences in favor of 36 months of probation after the initial 120-day jail commitment.
Johnson was also ordered to follow recommendations from a mental health evaluation and take courses for anger management and parenting.
Deputy District Attorney Andres Gonzalez argued in favor of the 120-day sentence, saying, "I know the defendant doesn't have a criminal history, but it is a problem that ... a routine drive-through order suddenly jumped to an (aggravated) assault and a situation where his children fired a gun in the direction of human beings," Gonzalez said.
Johnson told the court that he wanted to move forward with whatever sentence the court gives.
"I would like to apologize for my actions on that day. It was a very stupid mistake that I should have never made," he said.
His attorney, Jordan Haycock, asked the court for a probationary sentence. He said the allegations against his client are serious, but Johnson has taken accountability and gotten a job. He noted that the Department of Child and Family Services and Child Protective Services have gotten involved and the children are with their mother.
"The system's working here, everyone is doing what they should," Haycock said.
He said that Johnson did make mistakes and created the situation, but did not intend for the child to shoot the gun.
"He didn't intend the consequences, for the kids to be able to get the gun. That was truly outside of his actions," Haycock said.
The judge said because Johnson is convicted on a felony charge, he is now a restricted person and will not be able to possess firearms.