Utah Courthouse Shooting: Defendant Who Rushed Witness Stand Wounded

Image: Utah Courthouse Shooting: Defendant Who Rushed Witness Stand Wounded Defendant Siale Angilau

Monday, 21 Apr 2014 04:15 PM

By Angela Deines

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A defendant in a gang-related trial was shot and critically wounded after charging the witness stand at a Utah courthouse on Monday.

A U.S. Marshal shot defendant Siale Angilau in the chest after he rushed the witness stand with a pen in Salt Lake City’s federal courthouse, according to The Associated Press.

Angilau was hospitalized, the AP reported. He was one of 17 defendants in a case accusing alleged gang members of conspiracy, assault, robbery, and weapons offenses.

The shooting occurred during the first day of trial in the case.

The Salt Lake Tribune said Angilau is an alleged member of the Tongan Crip gang accused of shooting two deputy U.S. marshals in August 2007.

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Perry Cardwell, who was in the courtroom at the time of the shooting, said the defendant appeared to try to punch a witness who was giving testimony about the gang and how it works, the newspaper reported. The U.S. Marshal shot eight times and the defendant fell to the floor. Spectators hid under benches.

The incident happened in U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell's courtroom during the first trial in the new $185 million federal courthouse, which opened a week ago.

“The court has met with the jury and observed that most of the jury members are visibly shaken and upset by this episode," Campbell wrote in her order, according to the Deseret News. "The court finds that this occurrence in the courtroom would so prejudice Mr. Angilau as to deprive him of a fair trial."

According to the Deseret News, Angilau, 25, is the last of the alleged gang members to stand trial in the case, with charges including racketeering, robbery, carjacking, assault on a federal officer, and weapons violations. He has been in prison since September 2007.

Seven alleged gang members were convicted in 2011, and jurors in that trial feared retaliation.

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