An Avenues teen shot by a police officer Wednesday was upgraded to serious condition Thursday at LDS Hospital.
The 15-year-old, whose exact address was unavailable, was shot in the chest and abdomen after allegedly refusing to drop a loaded handgun. Officer Brian Johnson fired his 9mm service gun twice after the boy began to point the gun at him, Salt Lake police reported.Homicide detectives, the Salt Lake County attorney's office and the department's Internal Affairs Division continued to investigate the shooting Thursday. The case will also be the first to be scrutinized by a newly formed police-citizen review board that will recommend to Police Chief Ruben Ortega whether disciplinary action is warranted.
"Our initial impression is that the officer acted appropriately," said Salt Lake police Lt. Marty Vuyk.
Johnson and rookie officer Devon Jarman responded to a call of a suspicious vehicle parked near 910 E. Harvard Ave. (1100 South). When officers arrived, the car was empty. They parked down the street and waited for the occupants to return. Just after 7 a.m., they approached three teens who had returned to the vehicle.
The two officers ordered the boys to keep their hands in view. But Christopher Calderon said something like, "No way I'm going to do that," and pulled out a gun from his waistband, said Salt Lake police Lt. Jim Bell.
The officers drew their weapons. Calderon, backing away, pointed the gun to his head. The other two boys tried to flee, but Jarman ordered them to stop and lie on the ground.
Bell said the officers ordered Calderon to drop his weapon, but the 6-foot-4-inch, 240-pound teen was belligerent and told officers he would not drop his gun. Johnson shot Calderon as he lowered his gun toward the officer. Police said even after Calderon was taken to LDS Hospital, he remained belligerent with doctors, nurses, police and family members.
After surgery Wednesday, he was listed in critical condition but was upgraded to serious condition Thursday. He remained in the hospital's intensive care unit.
The boy's gun, a 9mm semi-automatic, had been stolen earlier that morning from a corrections officer's car, parked at his East Bench home, Vuyk said. The three boys allegedly broke into one car and took a bag containing the gun, a flashlight, a day planner and other items.
An anti-theft club used to lock onto a steering wheel was also lying on the floor of the car and was taken. The club was used to break the window of another car belonging to the corrections officer, police said.
The boys allegedly threw the day planner out of the window as they drove off. It was later recovered.
Officers recovered a car stereo inside the parked car that was believed to have been stolen during another car prowl that morning. The boys were also carrying screwdrivers when they were arrested.
The other teens, ages 14 and 15, were taken to juvenile detention and later released to the custody of their parents.
Both Johnson and Jarman are on administrative leave with pay until the investigations are completed.