Newly-released bodycam footage shows the moment a four-year-old child fired a gun at police officers at a McDonald’s drive-thru in Utah after reportedly being encouraged by his father.
Officers from the Unified Police Department responded to the Salt Lake City McDonald’s on 21 February after 27-year-old father Sadaat Johnson reportedly became enraged with one of the fast-food franchise’s employees and brandished a gun because his order was incorrect.
Mr Johnson, who had two children ages three and four in the car, was asked to pull to the front of the drive-thru when police officers arrived at the scene.
The bodycam video released this week begins from the vantage point of an officer standing beside the arresting officer as shouts can be heard asking Mr Johnson to put his hands up and exit the vehicle.
Mr Johnson repeatedly ignores the officers’ demands to exit the car, and finally one of the officers goes to the front door to begin to pull the 27-year-old from the driver’s seat.
As the man is slowly removed from the front of the car, one of the officers turns around and notices that a gun is being aimed out of the back of the window, and promptly shouts “gun” mere seconds before a single shot is heard ringing out.
Though it’s not seen in the footage, one of the officers used his hand to swipe the gun aside, causing it to hit the side of the McDonald’s building.
Officers can then be heard shouting for the person inside the car to drop the firearm before they realise that it was in fact a small child inside the vehicle who had fired the gun. An officer then begins to shout “kid”, as the remaining police begin to escort the screaming and crying children out of the car and away from the scene.
According to a statement from the Unified Police Department’s sheriff, the four-year-old child who shot the gun at the officers had reportedly been “encouraged” to do so by his father.
“This is a sad day for law enforcement and our community. To have an adult think it is okay to encourage a four-year-old to pull a firearm and shoot at police illustrates how out of hand the campaign against police has gotten,” said Sheriff Rosie Rivera in a statement. “This needs to stop and we need to come together as a community to find solutions to the challenges we face in our neighborhoods. Officers are here to protect and serve and we are beyond belief that something like [that] could happen.”
According to charging documents for Mr Johnson, the small child reportedly told officers after the incident that they had picked up the gun because “he wanted his daddy back” and that the father had told his son that “the police officer cannot open the door”, The Hill reported.
After the arrest, Mr Johnson told officers that he had reportedly “blacked out” for half a minute after the altercation with the McDonald’s employee began.
The 27-year-old also denied the accusation levelled at him by the store employees that he had brandished a gun, all this despite the fact that surveillance video from the store showed him doing exactly that, the court records state, KFOR reported.
The 27-year-old father was arrested on charges of felony child abuse and threatening the use of a dangerous weapon.