KEARNS — A man suspected of robbing a Mexican restaurant with a knife was shot during a confrontation with Unified police officers on Wednesday.
James Lyle Kuehn, 61, of Kearns, was taken to a local hospital in critical condition, said Unified Police Sgt. Melody Gray, where he remained Wednesday night.
The incident began about 1:20 p.m. when a man with a knife robbed Fiesta Olè, 4098 W. 5415 South. Officers responding to the scene were able to locate the man at a nearby house, 4460 W. 5700 South, Gray said. What led officers to that address was not immediately known.
About 1:45 p.m., approximately 25 minutes after the robbery, there was a confrontation between the man and police and he was shot, according to the lieutenant. Details about the confrontation or whether the man was still armed with a knife were not released.
A witness who overheard the shooting described watching as police cars "flew down this street."
"They got down there. They immediately opened their doors and started running around their cars to the front of the house. And all of a sudden, pop pop pop. Somebody just got shot," recalled the witness, who asked not to be identified.
Officers at the scene also spotted someone else inside the house, Gray said. Believing there was still a possible threat, a large number of backup officers were called to the area. Officers eventually entered the residence but did not find anyone, Gray said. Investigators believe the other person was able to get out, possibly through a back door, before containment could be established.
Salt Lake City police will conduct the independent officer-involved critical incident investigation, she said. Officers were in the process of obtaining a search warrant and going back into the house to look for evidence Wednesday evening, while the street remained closed.
Additional details about Kuehn's injuries were not immediately available. Utah State Court records show he has faced numerous theft- and drug-related charges dating back to 1987.
Wednesday's incident marked the third officer-involved shooting in Utah in a week.1 comment on this story
On Oct. 11, Diamonte Riviore, 22, was shot and killed by a West Jordan police officer responding to a domestic violence call. Riviore, who had a history of threatening his ex-girlfriend, was holding a knife when officers arrived, according to police.
On Oct. 12, Jacob E. Albrethsen, 17, was shot and killed by Orem police officers responding to a "family problem" involving Albrethsen and woman. While the officers were inside the home, Albrethsen came at them "armed with a knife," according to police.
Contributing: Caitlin Burchill