OGDEN — A man shot by an Ogden police officer as he charged her with a butcher knife and an air pistol pleaded guilty Wednesday to a pair of charges arising from the confrontation.
In a plea bargain with the Weber County Attorney’s Office, Gavin Johansen, 18, pleaded guilty to second-degree felony assault against a police officer and third-degree felony aggravated assault for choking a friend just before the shooting.
Police and prosecutors said Johansen left a treatment program and drove to his mother’s home in Ogden on Oct. 27, intending to get a firearm to commit suicide. As he retrieved a shotgun, a family friend tried to wrestle it away, but Johansen choked him with it, grabbed the other weapons and ran out the back door.
Police had been called by a Johansen family member and one officer was posted in the backyard. She fired four shots, hitting Johansen in the abdomen. He was charged after being released from the hospital.
Video released by the Weber County Attorney’s Office showed Johansen holding the weapons as he approached the officer.
In the plea bargain, defense attorney Shawn Smith said Johansen would receive a reduction in penalties on the two assault charges if he completes probation successfully.
Prosecutors dropped a second-degree felony weapons possession charge in return for the guilty pleas.
Letitia Toombs, a deputy Weber County attorney, said during the video hearing before 2nd District Judge Jennifer Valencia that prosecutors have agreed not to ask for a prison sentence. “But there is no agreement we would not be asking for additional jail time,” Toombs said.
Valencia ordered a pre-sentence report and set sentencing for May 11.
Steve Gacioch of Utah Juvenile Justice Services asked that detention measures be relaxed for Johansen pending sentencing so he can work and pursue schooling. Under an earlier detention order, Johansen must wear an ankle monitor and be supervised when he leaves the premises of the Layton mental health treatment center where he has been living.
But Toombs objected. “I appreciate that he’s doing well (in the program), but he does, however, have a lot of history,” she said. “He does well for a time and when restrictions are lifted he goes off the rails, which is why we ended up here today.”
Smith said Johansen plans to enroll in a community college program to become a mechanic.
“We would ask that he keep the monitor on but be allowed when he leaves (the treatment program premises) to turn in paperwork to complete enrollment and hopefully not miss those deadlines,” Smith said.
Valencia said she wanted to see a plan outlining Johansen’s prospects for employment and education before she would consider relaxing the detention requirements.