Courthouse Shooting in Salt Lake City, Utah Ends in DeathBy: Galen Velonis - April 21, 2014
A defendant in a federal courthouse in Salt Lake City, Utah died after a U.S. marshal shot him today. The shooting occurred early this morning, and the story has been developing throughout the day.
Initially information regarding the shooting was not being released. Police had been called at 9:45 in the morning. U.S. attorney’s office spokeswoman Melodie Rydalch told the Associated Press that the shooting occurred in a a gang-related trial in U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell’s courtroom.
No other details were released. No information on victims or arrests or anything.
The press and public were barred from entering the courthouse. Reporters began tweeting the limited information they had. Eye witnesses claimed they saw someone carried out of the building on a stretcher.
That someone was defendant Siale Angilau. The 25 year old Angilau, also known as “C-Down”, decided to lunge at a witness with a pen in hand. A U.S. Marshall took action immediately, shooting the alleged gang member several times in front of the entire court.
“It was kind of traumatizing,” Eye-witness Sara Jacobson told the Associated Press. Jacobson was in the court to support her grandmother who was scheduled to testify against Angilau. Prosecutors say Angilau was a member of the Tongan Crips, and with the assistance of his fellow gang members, he robbed convenience stores in the Salt Lake City Area from 2002 to 2007.
The FBI investigated the incident and found that “during the trial this morning the defendant went after, engaged the witness stand, and when he engaged the witness at the witness stand, he was shot by the U.S. Marshals Service.” USA Today quoted FBI spokesman Mark Dressen saying, “from what I understand, the defendant may have grabbed a pen or a pencil and charged the witness stand at that time.”
Judge Campell declared a mistrial stating “the court has met with the jury and and observed that most of the jury members are visibly shaken and upset by this episode. The court finds that this occurrence in the courtroom would so prejudice Mr. Angilau as to deprive him of a fair trial.”
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