MIDVALE — A Taylorsville man was shot by a Unified police officer during a scuffle in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant early Wednesday.
Steve Michael Darrel Hawkins, 26, was taken to a local hospital to be treated for a gunshot wound to his lower, side torso. He was released from the hospital a short time later and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of aggravated assault on a police officer, interfering with an arrest, possession of a dangerous weapon and public intoxication.
The officer was not injured, thanks in part to his bulletproof vest.
The incident began about 1:30 a.m. when a Unified police officer spotted a man acting "erratically" in the parking lot of a closed McDonald's, 425 W. 7200 South, though police did not immediately go into detail about what the man was doing that raised the officer's suspicion.
"It is 1:30 in the morning. The McDonald’s is closed. So anytime anyone is wandering around at night in a closed business parking lot, just that behavior in and of itself would invoke some suspicion,” said Unified Police Sgt. Melody Gray.
At some point after the officer approached Hawkins to talk to him, the two became involved in a fight, Gray said. In his jail mug shot, Hawkins' right eye is black and swollen shut. Gray said the black eye is the result of his fight with the officer.
During the fight, Hawkins pulled out a screwdriver and stabbed the officer, she said. Although his uniform was torn, Gray said "the officer's ballistic vest was able to protect him from receiving any injuries."
After being stabbed, the officer shot at Hawkins, striking him once, Gray said. It was not immediately known how far away the officer was from Hawkins when he fired.6 comments on this story
The officer, whose name was not released, has been with Unified police for eight years. He was placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation from an officer-involved shooting protocol team led by Salt Lake police.
In 2016, Hawkins was convicted of assault for punching his dad in the face, according to court records. He spent about 30 days in jail and was ordered to undergo an anger management class. In 2013, Hawkins was convicted of assault in another domestic violence-related case. He was charged two other times with domestic violence assault, according to court records, but those cases were later dismissed.
Contributing: Caitlin Burchill