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Defendant shot during criminal trial in federal courthouse dies

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - An alleged gang member on trial was shot and killed after reportedly lashing out in a crowded courtroom.
 (Salt Lake County Jail)
(Salt Lake County Jail)
 (ABC 4 Utah)
(ABC 4 Utah)

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Salt Lake City police responded to a shooting at the Federal Courthouse Monday morning.

FBI says around 9:25 a.m., Siale Angilau, 25, a defendant in a federal criminal trial, rushed a witness on the witness stand in "an aggressive, threatening manner." 

From what I understand the defendant grabbed a pencil or pen and charged the witness,” said Mark Dressen, a representative with the FBI, Salt Lake City office.

"He just ran up and jumped over the witness stand and attacked him," said Sara Jacobson, a witness in the courtroom.

A deputy U.S. Marshal then shot Angilau multiple times. He was hit in the chest and taken to an area hospital where he later died Monday afternoon.

Like boom, boom boom,” said Perry Caldwell, who was in the courtroom when the shots were fired. “Somebody behind us said 'get on the floor' and everybody dropped.”

Angilau was the final defendant in a series of cases being prosecuted by the United States Government against members and associates of the Tongan Crip gang. Angilau is accused of a number of violent crimes, including shooting at two federal officers in 2007.

The witness was not hurt in the shooting.

The judge presiding over the trial, Judge Tena Campbell, had ordered a mistrial, before learning the defendant was dead. In her order, she wrote, the jurors who were just feet away from the shooting, were visibly shaken.

Nearby courtrooms on the 8th floor were evacuated witnesses tell ABC 4 Utah as a precaution.

We took the back stairs down got out the court room right away, cleared it,” said Portia Louder, who was in a courtroom next door.

The federal courthouse was on lockdown for several hours Monday morning before employees were allowed to go back to their offices. But court administrators canceled all criminal cases for the day, which are held in the same part of the building as the shooting.

“I don't know what's going to happen,” said Don Bowers, who flew into Salt Lake from Georgia Monday only to learn his hearing was canceled. “I'm in a quandary, I don't know what to do.”

The name of the U.S. Marshal has not been released. But the the FBI, the agency handling the investigation, is praising the Marshal's fast actions.

I think the Marshal did an exceptional job, they stopped the threat to the witness and got the courtroom fully secured,” said Dressen. 


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