Salt LakeCounty Utah March 19 2012 A 15-year-old boy died Sunday after a shootout with police officers, leaving Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder thankful no one else was hurt and wondering what might have been done to prevent the terrible tragedy.
The boy’s mother called police around 8:40 a.m. after her son, identified as Sean Morrison, broke into a locked storage box at their home on Westgate Circle in Magna and removed a .45 caliber hand gun, Winder said.
Morrison, wearing a bullet-proof vest, black trench coat and ski mask, then left the home after obtaining the gun, telling his mother he was leaving because he did not want to “hurt everyone,” police said. At some point after leaving his home, Morrison also threatened a neighbor, police said.
As an officer arrived on the scene, he spotted the youth walking near the intersection of Miriam Way and Miriam Circle, brandishing the handgun, Winder said.
Adam Sheppick was inside his home on Miriam Way when heard two gunshots shortly before 9 a.m. Sheppick said he looked out his bedroom window and saw a person wearing a black ski mask and black trench coat calmly walking along the street. He could see a large, silver handgun in the person’s hand.
As Sheppick watched, Morrison continued walking toward a police vehicle that was turning around in Miriam Circle, which is across from Sheppick’s home. As the police vehicle drove toward Morrison he raised his gun and began firing, Sheppick said. The police vehicle appeared to swerve toward the teen and then sped through the four-way intersection, while the boy continued walking, Sheppick said.
“He was calmly walking like he was out for a Sunday stroll,” Sheppick said. “It was very alarming, especially with my wife and daughter in the house with me.”
At that point, more officers appeared at the scene and Sheppick left his home to tell them where he’d seen the teen go. Unified Police also received a call about a suspicious person hiding in a yard at 3791 S. Paine Road.
As officers approached, Morrison left the yard and hid behind a vehicle on Paine Road. Charlie Johnson, who was taking a walk through the neighborhood, said he heard officers yell to the teen to put down his weapon. Instead, Morrison began shooting and officers returned fire.
Sheppick said he heard four or five gun shots about 20 minutes after the boy disappeared down Paine Road and then watched as paramedics loaded the teen into an ambulance.