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Gunman shoots two Salt Lake County deputies outside sheriff's office

“The job of law enforcement is becoming more and more dangerous," Sheriff Rosie Rivera said.

A gunman opened fire on two Salt Lake County sheriff's deputies Saturday, leaving one in critical but stable condition.

The deputies were patrolling the perimeter of the sheriff’s office building when they encountered an armed man who appeared to be in his 30s, according to law enforcement officials. As they attempted to approach him, the man fired at the two deputies, hitting each in the face.

The deputy in critical condition was shot in the eye. The other was shot in the cheek and was expected to be released from the hospital this weekend, according to the sheriff's department, which did not release their names.

“The job of law enforcement is becoming more and more dangerous," Sheriff Rosie Rivera said in a statement. "I am grateful to have deputies like these who are willing to put their lives on the line in the name of public safety.”

The shooter, who has not been publicly identified, was killed after one of the deputies returned fire.

"We do not know what he was doing here on the grounds," Rivera said at a news briefing, adding that officials believe the gunman might have been experiencing homelessness. "The deputies were going to check up on him when something occurred."

Utah Gov. Spencer J. Cox called the shooting an "awful tragedy" in a tweet and said he and his wife were praying for the deputies.

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson tweeted that she is "grateful for the sacrifice that law enforcement makes each day."

"Our hearts and hopes are with the deputies and their families," she said.