Utah social workers took custody of two children whose father allegedly told his 4-year-old son to shoot at cops during a heated dispute at a McDonald’s drive-thru, police said.
Sadaat Shamille Johnson, 27, allegedly pulled out a gun during Monday’s wild incident at a McDonald’s in Midvale, where he became enraged over an incorrect order, the Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake told The Post.
Johnson then allegedly instructed his son to shoot at police officers as he was being taken into custody by responding cops after McDonald’s workers called 911, Sgt. Melody Cutler said.
“I’ve been in law enforcement for 27 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Cutler said early Tuesday. “That a 4-year-old even knows how to utilize a firearm and point it at an officer and pull the trigger is incredibly disturbing.”
Johnson’s 4-year-old son, who was in the backseat at the time with his 3-year-old sister, fired the gun, but an officer managed to deflect the weapon as it went off — with the round getting lodged in an awning, police said.
State social workers responded to the scene and found both children in the backseat of Johnson’s car. The child welfare officials took custody of both youngsters, Cutler said.
Johnson, who is originally from Georgia, remained held without bond Tuesday at a Salt Lake County jail on felony child abuse and misdemeanor threat or use of a dangerous weapon charges, online records show. It’s unclear if he’s hired an attorney who could comment on his behalf.
The officer who pushed the gun away after Johnson’s son opened fire was burned on the arm, Cutler said. A witness relayed to police that Johnson told his son to “shoot at the police,” department officials said in a statement Monday.
Utah child welfare workers had no prior contact with Johnson’s family prior to Monday’s incident. The man, whose Facebook profile indicates he’s engaged, recently moved to Salt Lake City from Atlanta.
Johnson’s fiancée is not the biological mother of Johnson’s two children, Cutler said.
“We don’t have much else at this point,” Cutler said. “Our investigation is continuing.”
Cutler struggled to find words to detail the allegations against Johnson, saying she “couldn’t wrap” her head over what he’s accused of doing – and the position he put officers in.
“Even the thought crossing their mind of having to use deadly force on a child is disturbing,” Cutler said of cops. “For someone to even put their child in that position is so disturbing. I can’t even wrap my head around it, how that even happens.”
Police did not return fire and no other injuries were reported.
“This is a sad day for us because the person who pulled that trigger was 4 years old,” Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera told KUTV. “Just think the gravity of that – a 4-year-old was told, we believe by the father, to pull the trigger and shoot a police officer. Thank God the officer was able to deflect.”
Rivera, who said the incident shows “how out hand the campaign against police” has become, said the officer who reacted quickly saved a life during the frightening incident.
“He’s a hero in mind,” Rivera said. “They could have fired back not knowing who was in that vehicle, but they held their restraint.”