When a Salt Lake City police officer heard a knock on his cruiser's window on a sunny afternoon in August, he had no idea what he was about to go up against. But according to the brother of Brandon Barrett, the AWOL Joint Base Lewis-McChord solider shot and killed in the middle one of the Utah capitol's busiest intersections, the cop should have been warned.
Barrett had been AWOL for two months when he showed up in the lobby of Salt Lake's Grand America Hotel looking like a solider on patrol in Kandahar. Wearing full fatigues, a protective helmet and carrying an AR-15 assault rifle, Barrett told a hotel security officer to call the police.
Salt Lake Tribune
Brandon Barrett as he appeared minutes before being shot and killed in Salt Lake City.
Pacing in the hotel parking lot (which you can see in the surveillance video at the bottom of the post), Barrett was confronted by a police officer who'd been flagged down by a passing motorist. Barrett opened fire, hitting the officer in the leg. The officer fired back, his third shot striking Barrett in the head and killing him instantly.
It seemed like something out of a bad movie. And nothing that the Salt Lake police force could have prepared for. But Barrett's brother Shane, a Tucson detective, says Army investigators failed to warn Utah authorities that Brandon was coming there to "make a statement."
According to text messages Barrett sent to soldiers he'd served with in Afghanistan, he intended to "make a name" for himself. He also told his friends to "watch the news."