Two deputies were wounded — one shot in an eye and the other in the face — after “some type of altercation” outside the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office, the sheriff said.
The sheriff, Rosie Rivera, said the deputy who was shot in the face was in stable condition and the other was in critical condition.
The gunman was dead but Sheriff Rivera did not specify how he died. She said the altercation took place on a grassy area outside the office, where it is common to find individuals sleeping or waiting for a bus.
The two deputies were performing a routine security check around the campus when they saw the gunman, who was armed, Sheriff Rivera said.
“We don’t know if he was asleep or not, but something occurred to get their attention to go talk with him, and then it happened very quickly,” Sheriff Rivera said, adding that the deputies and the man exchanged gunfire.
“These types of incidents are really devastating for the department, and we hope and we pray that our deputies will be OK,” the sheriff said at a news conference. “The environment for law enforcement right now is extremely dangerous.”
Both deputies were expected to survive their wounds. The deputy in stable condition, whose cheek was grazed by a bullet, was expected to be released from the hospital shortly, the sheriff said.
“There’s quite a bit of damage on his face, but he’s coherent,” she added.
The deputy in critical condition was expected to need surgery, Sheriff Rivera said.
Gov. Spencer J. Cox of Utah said on Twitter that he and his wife were praying for the deputies.
Mayor Jenny Wilson of Salt Lake County also offered support for the deputies and the department on Twitter.
“My thoughts are with the deputies who were injured in a horrific shooting this morning,” Ms. Wilson said. “Our hearts and hopes are with the deputies and their families.”
The two deputies were part of a team that oversees campus security surrounding the office and the nearby Salt Lake County Metro Jail, which are in South Salt Lake, Sheriff Rivera said. The deputies and the gunman were not immediately identified, but the sheriff later said the suspect was a man.
Sheriff Rivera said that the authorities planned to review surveillance video, but that deputies who work in the jail do not wear body cameras.
After the shooting, which happened around 10:30 a.m. local time, Sheriff Rivera said the jail went into a lockdown. Some nearby streets were also shut down.
“We don’t have any indication that the jail is in any danger at all,” she said, adding that lockdowns are standard protocol in such cases.
In a follow-up news conference, Sheriff Rivera said she was thankful the encounter happened on a Saturday, when there are fewer employees are on the campus.
“This is our working place,” she said. “This is our working home, and it hit close to home.”
Peer-support teams were being made available to help county workers and the families of those involved, and neighboring police departments were offering help as well, the sheriff said.
“This is just shocking,” she said. “We’re a strong family, and we’ll make it through this. It’s just tough right now for all of us.”
Sheriff Rivera said she had been in contact with the governor’s office and the mayor’s office, and added the multiple police agencies had reached out to show support.
“Law enforcement sticks together in these types of things,” Sheriff River said. “It’s tragic, but we’ll be OK and it could have been a lot worse.”