Utah Dad tells 4-year-old to shoot at police

Posted at 4:05 PM, February 22, 2022 and last updated 2:10 AM, December 13, 2022

By Emily Tencer

MIDVALE, Utah (KSTU) — Police said a 4-year-old child fired a gun at officers on the order of their father Monday at a Utah McDonald’s.

According to the Unified Police Department, a man identified as Sadaat Johnson was driving a Honda when he allegedly brandished a gun at the Midvale, Utah restaurant drive-thru at workers after they gave him an incorrect order.

Veteran police are stunned that a 4-year-old shot at them at the father’s order. (KSTU)

The workers called police after telling 27-year-old Johnson that they would fix his order.

“He’s a hero in my mind,” said Rivera. “He saved a life today.”

Police identified the person who discharged the weapon as a 4-year-old child who was allegedly told to fire the gun by their father. The child was in the backseat of the car with their three-year-old sibling.

“Every officer that’s here today just can’t believe it. We’re beyond belief that something like this could happen,” said Rivera.

Officers did not fire back after the child fired the weapon.

“This campaign against police officers, this needs to stop. We’re here to protect and serve, and this is getting out of hand,” said Rivera. “This is a child who thought it was okay to pull a firearm and shoot that firearm at police. I’ve never seen anything like this in my 28 years.”

Although the officer was able to deflect the firearm, he did receive a small injury to his arm.

Johnson was taken into custody and faces charges of felony child abuse and threatening the use of a dangerous weapon.

Child and family psychologist Dr. Douglas Goldsmith said shootings like this are not common. He said children typically tend to react more timidly when seeing parents under arrest.

“They respond with fear. They respond with anxiety. They respond by crying. I have never seen a child try to harm or yell at or be angry with a policeman as retribution for arresting their parent,” he said.

Goldsmith said young children model what they see and what they’re taught at home.

“An older child may be able to take a moment to say, ‘I’m not going to be shooting the cops,’” he explained. “The four-year-old wouldn’t think, ‘This is a really bad choice.’ No. The child would think, ‘Daddy’s hurting. Daddy told me to do this. I’ll do it.’”

Investigators are working with the Division of Child and Family Services to make sure the four-year-old and three-year-old are in safe hands.

This story was originally published Feb. 21 by KSTU in Salt Lake City, an E.W. Scripps Company.