Police say man shot Draper officer, shot woman and turned gun on himself

Published: Sunday, Sept. 1 2013 9:10 a.m. MDT

Residents were asked to stay in their homes as police searched for anyone who may have been responsible for the death of Johnson. But police later suspended the manhunt, said the neighborhood was safe, and pointed to the man and woman involved in the shooting as the lone suspects.

Drivers in the area were stopped by officers yielding assault rifles who looked inside the vehicles and asked they had seen anything suspicious. Drivers were asked to take alternate routes.

"We knew something was real wrong when we saw officers going back to their trunk to start pulling out the assault rifles," David Szelag said.

As a nurse, Kris Szelag said she felt helpless.

"I just wanted to help any way I could but we're also taught not to get in the way," she said.

Church meetings throughout Draper were canceled and police asked residents who lived on Fort Street to stay in their homes while the investigation continued.

The neighborhood perimeter was entirely cleared late Sunday afternoon, with the exception of Fort Street between Walden Lane and 13300 South, where detectives were still gathering evidence.

Remembering Sgt. Johnson

Draper City Council member William Rappleye, who lives on Willow Springs Lane, said his home was on the outer rim of the police perimeter. He offered support at the press conference and condolences to family and police:

"I'm really sad. Our police officers are some great people," Rappleye said.

Those who knew Johnson said he loved his family and his work as a police officer.

"He was a very dedicated, devoted and highly decorated police officer," Roberts said.

Johnson grew up in Utah and was part of Alta High School's 1999 graduating class. While in high school he was an Explorer Scout for the Sandy City Police Department, knowing early it was the career path he would take.

He married his high school sweetheart in 2000 and they have a seven-year-old son.

Johnson worked as a police dispatcher and ultimately went through police academy training. He has worked for the Draper City Police Department for the past eight years, first as a reserve officer and eight months later hired on as a full-time officer.

Johnson was one of nine presented with the Distinguished Service Medal in February by the Draper Police Department for his role in the investigation and prosecution of a child abuse homicide in 2012.

"I have known Derek for many years. He is one of the best and most qualified sergeants on our force," Draper Mayor Darrell Smith said from a prepared statement.

Smith and his wife met Johnson's family at the hospital and at their home Sunday morning.

"They are wonderful people and have suffered a tremendous and tragic loss," he said.

Community Support

It has been 13 months since an officer died in the line of duty in Utah.

Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Aaron Beesley was the last officer in Utah to die in the line of duty. Beesley was assisting in a search and rescue on the Mount Olympus Trail when he fell from a cliff.

Many in the community and the state rallied together Sunday to support the Johnson family as well as Draper Police, a department that had not lost an officer in the line of duty.

Ryan Walsh with The Utah 1033 Foundation was at Draper City Hall Sunday, waiting to meet with Roberts before presenting a $25,000 check to the Johnson family to help with immediate expenses associated with their loss.

The foundation which began in 2011, provides immediate funds to the families of fallen officers in Utah.

Just after 3 p.m., Nevah Stevenson, a Draper resident, placed a vase of 21 yellow roses outside Draper City Hall, with a sign that read: "Holding you in our hearts Johnson family. May God bless officer Derek Johnson."

While on Facebook, Stevenson noticed that people were tying yellow ribbons around Johnson's neighborhood, so she decided to contribute as well.

"I'm just a concerned and heavy-hearted citizen today," she said.

Contributing: Andrew Wittenberg, Shara Park, Katherine May and Devon Dolan

Email: wevans@deseretnews.com

Twitter: whitevs7

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