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square shooting

Trolley Square shooting

The Trolley Square shooting was a shooting spree that occurred on February 12, 2007, at Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. A lone gunman killed five bystanders and wounded four others before being shot dead by police.

The shooting

On February 12, 2007, at 6:44 PM MST, Sulejman Talović began a deadly shooting spree in Trolley Square resulting in the deaths of five bystanders and the shooter himself, as well as the wounding of at least four others. Talović was described as wearing a white shirt, a tan trenchcoat and a mullet. He carried both a shotgun and a handgun, as well as a backpack full of ammunition.

The gunman's rampage was stopped after trading shots with off-duty police officer Kenneth Hammond of the Ogden City Police Department and Sgt. Andrew Oblad of the Salt Lake City Police Department . The final confrontation, in which Talović was killed, occurred in the Pottery Barn Kids home furnishing store. Hammond was at Trolley Square with his pregnant wife, 911 dispatcher Sarita Hammond. Sarita borrowed a waiter's cell phone to call 911. Talović was cornered and was shooting at officers, until an active shooter contact team composed of Salt Lake City PD SWAT team members arrived and shot him. Salt Lake City police officials on February 13, 2007, thanked Hammond as a hero for saving countless lives.

According to local TV station KTVX (Utah's only ABC affiliate), several witnesses reported that a majority of the shooting took place on the ground floor near the Pottery Barn store, though the majority of the dead were found in Cabin Fever, a card store. One of the victims, having been shot, apparently entered the nearby Hard Rock Cafe and told customers to lock the doors. Several victims were transported to local hospitals, some in critical condition.

One of the victims was a 16-year-old boy, A.J. Walker, found in his car with a wound to the side of his head; another, Cedric Wilson, an employee at Rodizio Grill, was fired at twice but suffered only a graze on his head.

Deceased

  • Teresa Ellis, 29
  • Brad Frantz, 24
  • Kirsten Hinckley, 15
  • Vanessa Quinn, 29
  • Jeffrey Walker, 53

Injured

  • Carolyn Tuft, 43 (mother of Kirsten Hinckley)
  • Shawn Munns, 34
  • Stacy Hanson, 53
  • Alan "A.J." Walker, 16 (son of Jeffrey Walker)

The shooter

The perpetrator in the shootings was Sulejman Talović, 18 (October 6, 1988 - February 12, 2007), who was born in Cerska, a town in the Vlasenica municipality of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and later migrated with his family to the United States in 1998. Talović was a permanent resident who received a green card in 2005 and lived with his mother in Salt Lake City at the time of the shooting. He had a record of minor juvenile incidents and had dropped out of high school at age 16..

After the shooting, Talović was buried in his birthplace, a small village of Talovići near Cerska, Bosnia and Herzegovina on March 2, 2007.

Motive

Talović's aunt, Ajka Omerović, emerged briefly from the family's house to say relatives had no idea why the young man attacked so many strangers. She said that Talović had lived in the Sarajevo area as a child, and that his family moved to Utah from Bosnia. "He was such a good boy. I don't know what happened," she told Salt Lake City television station KSL-TV.

In another KSL interview, with Omerović, and Talović's father, Suljo Talović, the two indicated concern that some outside influence might have induced Sulejman to commit the killings. "I think this [Sulejman] did. I think somebody (is) behind him, I think, but I am not sure....

The father suggested that the US government bears some responsibility for his son's actions, saying "The authorities are guilty for not alerting us that he bought a gun. In the US, you cannot buy cigarettes if you are underaged, but you can buy a gun." However, contrary to Mr. Talović's statement, federal law prohibits the sale of handguns and handgun ammunition to those under 21; shotguns and shotgun ammunition are prohibited to those under 18.

In the light of the War on Terrorism some conservatives, including commentator John Gibson and congressman Chris Cannon suggested that Talović repeatedly shouted "Allahu Akbar" prior to his death, suggesting a religious motive. Some sources reach this conclusion by listening to online video of the rampage, which supposedly captures Talović's religious shouting. FBI agent Patrick Kiernan has stated that he has no reason to suspect terrorism.. Some family members suggested that emotional trauma Sulejman may have suffered during the Balkan war years of his youth might have contributed to the massacre. Ajka Omerović was quoted as saying, "We are Muslims, but we are not terrorists." .

Officers honored

Five officers were honored at the Utah state capitol on February 16 for their bravery in the Trolley Square shooting.

They are: Sgt. Andrew Oblad, Sgt. Joshua Scharman, Detective Dustin Marshall and Detective Brett Olsen, all of the Salt Lake City Police Department, and Officer Kenneth Hammond of the Ogden Police Department

See also

References

External links

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