Officer Involved Critical Incident: Our Story, Part 2

{Part 2}

2 year ago today.

20 seconds. 20 seconds was all it took to get to the brink of being killed at the hands of a felon.

It was now two days after the weird energy started. I hoped I would wake up with it completely gone. Thinking it was stemming from Greg being on the riot squad for the Ben Shapiro event the night before.

But we woke up and it was still there.

We went to our monthly chiropractor appointments and decided to grab some lunch as a family before he headed into work around 2.

When we got home from lunch, we were rushed. I had a business mentor call. The hubs was running behind to get to work on time.

So he quickly ran out the door after he was ready.

As a police wife, you ALWAYS say goodbye. And in our house, we had a tradition of saying family prayers. But today we didn’t.

I had the thought, I hope that’s not the last time I saw him because I didn’t get to hug, kiss, and tell him that I loved him.

I dismissed the thought because he would be fine, right?!

Meanwhile, a man by the name of Michael Peterson had just bailed on his halfway house the day before. He was seen with 2 friends causing problems at a local motorcycle shop at about lunchtime.

He seemed to be high on something, because he came into the shop, walked upstairs and tried to break into a safe the store had.

After a confrontation with the owners, the friends seemed to get him to leave.

What happened after that isn’t known but just a couple hours later, he was by himself.

As Greg got to work, they had a union meeting at the station. It wasn’t long before he got a call.

It was a telephonic call. So he went down to his car to take the call.

At home, I finished my business call and just sat at my desk for a few minutes. The nausea from being pregnant was vaguely there. I just felt blah. I mustered up the energy to get ready for the day. Even though it was 4 pm.

My kids were downstairs doing homeschool with my homeschool helper. As part of school, they sang church music.

And as I sat doing my makeup, they sang a few songs. I actually recorded a clip at 4:15 on my instastories because it was so cute. They were singing “Joseph Smith’s first prayer”. This song was special. We wouldn’t understand it’s significance for a while longer. But it was the beginning of a string of tender mercies.

As my husband is taking his telephonic call just before 4 pm, Michael Peterson makes his way into a salon where waxes and massages are done.

He walks into rooms, lays on their tables and refuses to leave. He demanded they give him a massage. They refuse and tell him to leave.

He doesn’t. So multiple workers called 911 to report that a man was trespassing and wouldn’t leave.

He even walks up to a worker and grabs her butt. Still refusing to leave.

At this time of day, Salt Lake is busy and the calls were already being stacked. The dispatchers let the salon know that officers would respond as soon as they could.

Since the salon was only reporting a trespasser and hadn’t reported a sexual assault, it was placed lower on the call log based on priority.

As this man, who was probably 6’3” and 230 lbs, continued to refuse to leave, the workers made more calls asking for police to come.

Greg was just finishing up his telephonic when he saw the trespassing call holding.

He told dispatch he would take it.

And as he got attached to it, his computer started to go off with updates.

Trespassing is a common call in Salt Lake with their homeless population. But receiving multiple calls when they had been told they were backlogged showed a sense of urgency.

It is still unknown to Greg who this man was or that he had actually sexually assaulted these women.

But based on their urgency in continually calling, he figured it wasn’t a typical trespass call.

As he was heading to the call, he had the thought to check to see where his back up officer was. His back was 4-5 blocks away. Not too far but not super close either with the time of day it was in the city.

Greg figured he would quickly touch base with the salon to make sure they weren’t being hurt, then fall back and wait for his backup to arrive before doing anything.

But as he walked up, a worker met him at the door and pointed to a man, walking toward them in the parking lot.

That man was Michael Peterson.

Before Greg could even investigate whatsoever, Michael was quickly approaching them and even told Greg to give him a ride.

He went up to Greg’s patrol car and attempted to get into it. Of course, Greg had it locked so he couldn’t get in.

At this point Greg knew it was going to be a fight. Normal people don’t trespass. Normal people don’t try to get into a patrol car and tell police officers to take them for a ride. And normal people stop when an officer tells them to.

Greg quickly asks for his back up officer to step it up. He informs dispatch that this man isn’t going to stop for him.

Seeing his erratic behavior, Greg opts to follow him to give his back up officer time to arrive. Because Michael was clearly going to fight based on his weird behavior.

Greg follows him for 2 blocks, updating dispatch of his location. They arrive at a Maverik gas station where Michael quickly walks toward a Jeep.

As he gets into the Jeep, Greg can hear someone come out of the Maverik telling him to get out of their car.

Greg now has to stop Michael. Without backup.

Michael couldn’t be driving while behaving the way he was. And he couldn’t steal a car.

Greg opts to tase Michael since he needed to slow him down and get him out of the car. He knew the taser would be ineffective from his distance but that was the best option for him to use to stop him from getting the car mobile.

And sure enough, it just pissed off this man.

As he rips out the taser wires, Greg sees an unmarked car pull up. A sense of relief waves over him. He just has to hold off for a minute as this officer gets out of his car.

It turns out, this officer wasn’t his official backup. His backup was still hustling to get to the scene.

This officer was a lieutenant who was almost done with his shift. He was at the police station getting ready to head home, so he put his body camera on the charger to charge for the night.

It was also his last shift before retirement.

But as he was listening to the radio, he heard Greg ask for his back to step it up.

And he chose to follow a prompting to head over and make sure Greg was okay. This was 100% divine inspiration and everyday we are so grateful he chose to listen. Because at this point….a fight that is 20 seconds long is about to go down.

And every single second counts for Greg’s life at this point.

Before this lieutenant had a chance to even get out of his car, the fight is already on. Greg pulls out his baton since his taser is useless.

Every other time he has pulled out his baton, the suspect complies. But it didn’t phase Michael. Michael is beyond mad and starts swinging punches.

The first blow immediately resulted in Greg losing his vision. Everything went white. So now, he is not only fighting for his life, he is fighting for his life while blind.

In 20 seconds, his face is pummeled, his nose is broken, he turns and is hit at the same time, resulting in snapping his fibula. He is dropped immediately to the ground.

In the process of catching himself as he falls, he drops his baton. And Michael swoops down and picks it up.

Greg manages to kick him away and get up and run. On a broken ankle. While still seeing nothing but white.

It was at this point that complete defeat took over Greg. He felt completely helpless and fearing he was going to die. He shouts out “help me” as he runs for his life.

Greg doesn’t know it, but the lieutenant is right there. And at this moment of desperation, this lieutenant calls out to Michael. And gets the attention off of Greg.

Michael turns toward the lieutenant and runs at him saying “you want a piece of this too?”

The lieutenant fires 6 shots. All 6 bullets hitting him. He was hit in the hand and the leg and center mass.

But nothing is slowing him down. The lieutenant fires 4 more as he is backing away from Michael, who is able to still hit the lieutenant in the arm with the baton.

He finally stops.

10 bullets. It took 10 bullets to stop this man.

20 seconds and my hubby nearly died.

Meanwhile, I am back home, oblivious to the hell my hubby is experiencing. Listening to my children sing church songs at this very moment.

I would soon be getting a phone call that I hoped I would never get and the start of the hardest 3 weeks of our lives.

Stay tuned for part 3.

leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.