Child Taken Into Custody After Father Tells 4-Year-Old Son To Shoot Police At Utah McDonald’s

A 4-year-old boy was taken into child protective custody in Utah on Tuesday after his father reportedly instructed him to shoot at police at a McDonald’s drive-thru. The boy and his 3-year-old sister are now in state custody following the incident at the Midvale location, the Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake said in a statement.

  1. The children’s father was angry about a wrong order. Authorities say that 27-year-old Shamille Johnson was “enraged” when his McDonald’s order was wrong and pulled a gun out. Police were soon on the scene and attempted to take him into custody.
  2. Johnson instructed the 4-year-old to shoot cops. As he was being arrested, Johnson allegedly shouted to his son to shoot at police with the gun, according to Sgt. Melody Cutler. “I’ve been in law enforcement for 27 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Cutler said. “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.”
  3. Yes, the child knew how to use the gun. Johnson’s son listened to his father and did indeed shoot the gun, though thankfully no one was hurt. An officer deflected the weapon and the round got lodged in an awning instead. Johnson was then arrested and the children left with social workers.
  4. Johnson remains in prison without bond. He’s in a Salt Lake County jail on felony child abuse charges as well as a count of misdemeanor threat or use of a dangerous weapon.
  5. Police are continuing to investigate the situation. Johnson recently moved to Salt Lake City from Atlanta and is engaged, though his fiancee is not the biological mother of the two children. Police had not had prior contact with the family in any way. “We don’t have much else at this point. Our investigation is continuing,” Cutler said.
  6. Officers were left shaken by the terrifying ordeal. As Cutler explained: “Even the thought crossing their mind of having to use deadly force on a child is disturbing. 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.” Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera added that the incident shows just how much hatred people now have for police. “This is a sad day for us because the person who pulled that trigger was 4 years old,” she 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.”
Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill