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Two Utah Officers Injured in Fatal Shootout with Rape, Robbery Suspect

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A standoff in West Valley City between police and a 20-year-old suspect turned deadly after the man released a 9-month-old baby and then opened fire at officers.

December 03, 2021 –

Two Utah police officers were wounded in a gun battle that erupted after a rape and robbery suspect released an infant during a standoff late Wednesday.

Authorities confronted Ariel Gabriel Joker, 20, at about 10 p.m. at a 7-Eleven in West Valley City, KSTU-TV reports. According to West Valley City Police Chief Colleen Jacobs, Joker was wanted in connection with rape and robbery, and he was targeted by a multi-agency operation.

When officers encountered Joker, he was in his vehicle with a 9-month-old baby and refused to give the child up. Police negotiated with the suspect, who eventually let the infant go.

Once he no longer had the baby, Joker opened fire at police. Shots struck two officers, and Joker was fatally wounded in the exchange of gunfire.

One of the injured officers—a five-year veteran West Valley City detective—was taken to the hospital in critical condition. His condition was upgraded to stable, and he’s expected to quickly recover.

The other wounded officer—a member of the Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake—also was taken to the hospital and later released. The 9-month-old baby was uninjured in the incident.

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