A Salt Lake police officer shot and wounded a woman who was allegedly trying to run him and his partner over with their unmarked police car after they arrested her during a Pioneer Park drug bust Friday afternoon.
The woman, 25, whose name was not released pending family notification, was taken to LDS Hospital following the 3:30 p.m. shooting where she underwent surgery for gunshot wounds to the upper right arm, shoulder and chest, said Salt Lake Police Lt. Phil Kirk. She was listed in critical condition Friday night.Two officers, whose names have not been released, arrested the woman after suspecting she took part in a drug sale near the park, Kirk said. "She has a history of being involved in drug transactions," Kirk said.
Following the drug sale, the woman got in the passenger seat of a van driven by a man. Police stopped the van on the corner of 300 South and 300 West, said Salt Lake Police Sgt. Kyle Jones.
The officers took the woman out of the van, handcuffed her and put her in the passenger side of the front seat of their car parked behind the van. The officers then returned to the van to question the man when the woman slid over into the driver's side of the car and somehow began driving, Kirk said.
Police would not say whether the woman slipped the handcuffs off or whether she pulled her still-cuffed hands around to her front to drive the car.
"Sometimes people with really small hands and feet can get them around," Kirk said.
Witnesses said they saw the woman reverse the car before accelerating toward the police officers.
Tony Caputo, owner of Tony Caputo's Market and Deli on the northwest corner of 300 South and 300 West, said he started watching the incident when the man and the woman were taken out of the van. The man was searched, but the woman was handcuffed and put in the police car, he said.
"Somehow the woman got into the front seat and put the car in reverse," Caputo said. "She was backing up the car, and then she stopped. Then she was going forward toward the cop. She was going to run him down."
The two officers believed the woman was trying to run over them, Kirk said. They ordered her to stop several times, and when she refused to stop, one of the officers opened fire at the vehicle.
Because of noise at the restaurant, Caputo said he could barely hear the shots.
"I thought, `He's not going to shoot at her,' " Caputo said. "This is real life, and you don't see things like that. But, by golly, he did. With a car coming toward me, I would have done the same thing, I believe."
The unmarked police car had four bullet holes in the windshield. Police did not reveal how many shots were fired.
The two officers are in the department's patrol division, Kirk said, but were on loan to the Pioneer Park patrol for the day. One officer has been on the force three years, the other five years.