A felon wielding two guns in a Utah hospital’s emergency room was critically injured Friday after being shot at four times by a parole officer, who was at the facility on another assignment and responded to help deal with the threat.
Cache Valley Hospital in North Logan called for a lockdown of the ER immediately after Jason James Burr entered the hospital, pulled out the handguns and started making demands about 8 a.m., said North Park Police Chief Kim Hawkes.
Hospital security called for the help of two officers from the Utah Department of Adult Probation and Parole who had been tending to an offender receiving treatment.
Burr, a 34-year-old from North Logan confronted one of the officers, who responded by firing four shots, police said. Speaking at a news conference after the shooting, Hawkes said he wasn’t sure whether Burr fired any shots.
Utah Department of Corrections Executive Director Rollin Cook told reporters that the timing of his officers being around was “very fortunate.”
"One of our offenders [was] there at the hospital," Cook said. "Any time we have that, we have agents watching over that person."
By phone, Hawkes called the coincidence “an answered prayer.”
At least three bullets struck Burr, and he was transferred to another hospital, Hawkes said. Several hours after the incident, Burr was in critical but stable condition. Hawkes wasn’t sure which parts of Burr’s body were hit.
Police were still interviewing family, including Burr’s wife, to see what might have prompted the incident, Hawkes said. No one answered at a phone number in the area listed for the Burr family.
“Although injured, we’re hopeful he’s in a position to survive,” Hawkes said, noting that Burr might be able to shed light on his motive.
Utah court records show Burr has a history of legal issues, including a bankruptcy filing and a criminal case. In 2010, he pleaded guilty to two counts of falsely obtaining and dispensing prescriptions, a third-degree felony, according to Utah 1st District Court in Cache County. Burr was sentenced to work release and three years' probation.
Hawkes said he didn’t believe Burr was still on probation.
Authorities haven’t decided whether any criminal charges are warranted in Friday’s incident, and Burr has not been arrested. The Utah Bureau of Investigation is assisting with the case.
An elementary school adjacent to the hospital was briefly placed on lockdown as a result of the situation, police reported.
The hospital emergency room's waiting room was empty, Hawkes said.