A U.S. marshal shot and killed a Pacific Islander gang member Monday when the defendant tried to attack a witness with a pen inside the new federal courthouse in Salt Lake City.
Siale Angilau, 25, a member of the Tongan Crip Gang, was shot several times in the chest about 9:25 a.m. MT after charging the witness in an “aggressive, threatening manner,” the FBI said. He died several hours later later at a hospital.
The witness, a Utah prison inmate, was testifying about the gang and how it worked.
“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,” said FBI spokesman Mark Dressen. “From what I understand, the defendant may have grabbed a pen or a pencil and charged the witness stand at that time.”
Angilau was on trial on racketeering charges in the courtroom of U.S. District Court Judge Tena Campbell. Along with a string of robberies and assaults of local store clerks, the 6-foot-3, 260-pound Angilau was also accused of shooting two U.S. marshals in 2007 and brandishing a firearm.
He had been in Utah state prison from September 2007 until being handed over to the U.S. Marshals Service on Friday after the jury had been selected, the Utah Department of Corrections said. He was not restrained in the courtroom.
A spectator told the Salt Lake Tribune that the marshal fired eight shots after Angilau jumped up from the defense table, charged the witness stand and tried to punch the witness, who was wearing a prison jump suit.
The witness was 31-year-old Vaiola Mataele Tenifa, his attorney, Steven Killpack, told the newspaper. He is serving up to 30 years at the Utah State Prison on 2001 convictions for robbery and aggravated assault.
Source: USA Today | Doug Stanglin, Kevin Johnson and Michael Winter