US cop gunned down investigating badly parked car

Updated: 

US cop gunned down investigating badly parked car

A Utah police officer has been shot dead after he pulled up to investigate a badly parked car.

32-year-old Derek Johnson of the Draper police department was attacked as he approached a silver Volvo parked at an odd angle.

The gunman – an unidentified 35-year-old man – then shot his female passenger before turning his weapon on himself.

The pair have been described by police as 'transients', who had been living out of the car in various locations in the county. Both had prior criminal convictions.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Johnson was hit 'multiple times' before managing to drive away.

He eventually lost control due to his injuries and crashed his car into trees less than a mile away.

A passer by dragged him from his vehicle and administered first aid. Johnson was then flown to a local hospital where he died from his wounds.

His attackers remain in a critical condition in hospital and are expected to be arrested should they recover.

"Make no doubt about it, Sergeant Johnson was simply doing his job and was gunned down," Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder said.

Police are currently trying to piece together exactly what happened at the scene.

"Obviously we know three people were hit by gunfire, the order in which that has occurred is evolving and you need recognise as well that one of the witnesses is deceased, Sergeant Johnson, the other two are in the hospital unable to answer questions," continued Winder.

Hundreds of mourners gathered on Sunday to remember Johnson, who leaves behind a wife and seven-year-old son.