Trolley Square shooting

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Trolley Square shooting
Candlelight vigil slc.jpg
Candlelight vigil at the Salt Lake City Public Library for victims of the Trolley Square shooting.
Location Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Date Monday, February 12, 2007
6:44 p.m. (MST)
Target Trolley Square
Attack type
Mass murder
Weapon(s)
Deaths 6 (including the perpetrator)
Non-fatal injuries
4
Perpetrator Sulejman Talović

The Trolley Square shooting was a mass shooting that occurred on the evening of February 12, 2007, at Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. A lone gunman Sulejman Talović killed five bystanders and wounded four others before being shot dead by police. The FBI was not able to determine a motive, declaring it was not an act of terrorism. The claims, later refuted by the authorities, that Talovich cried 'Allahu Akbar' during the shootout with the police, gave rise to speculations that the shooter might have been motivated by religious extremism. [1]

The shooting[edit]

On February 12, 2007, at 6:44 PM MST, Sulejman Talovich began a deadly shooting spree in Trolley Square resulting in the deaths of five bystanders and the shooter himself,[2] as well as the wounding of at least four others. Talović was described as wearing a white shirt, a tan trenchcoat and a mullet.[3] He carried both a shotgun with a pistol grip and a 38-caliber handgun with rubber grips,[4] as well as a backpack full of ammunition.[5]

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.[6] Hammond was at Trolley Square having an early Valentine's Day dinner with his pregnant wife, 911 dispatcher Sarita Hammond, when they heard gunshots. Sarita Hammond borrowed a waiter's cell phone to call 911.[7] 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.[5]

According to local TV station KTVX, several witnesses reported that most 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.[2]

One of the victims was a 16-year-old boy, A.J. Walker, made it to a passerby's 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.[8]

Victims[edit]

The shooter[edit]

2007 family photo of Talović

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.[10] Talović was a permanent resident who received a green card in 2005[11] and lived with his mother, father and three sisters in Salt Lake City at the time of the shooting.[12] As a child, Talovic frequently spent time at the mall and it was described as "the only place he went." The family at one point lived one block away.[13] He had a record of minor juvenile incidents and had dropped out of high school at age 16.[14]

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

Motive[edit]

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.[15]

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...."[16]

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 under-aged, 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 from federally licensed gun dealers although some states allow 18+ to purchase handguns through legal private sales. Longguns (being a rifle or shotgun) and rifle/shotgun ammunition are prohibited to those under 18.[17]

In the light of the War on Terrorism some commentators, including John Gibson[18] and congressman Chris Cannon[19] suggested that Talović repeatedly shouted "Allahu Akbar" prior to his death, suggesting a religious motive, citing video of the rampage which supposedly captures Talović's religious shouting.[20] FBI agent Patrick Kiernan has stated that he has no reason to suspect terrorism.[21] Ajka Omerović was quoted as saying, "We are Muslims, but we are not terrorists."[22]

Officers honored[edit]

Five officers were honored at the Utah state capitol on February 16 for their bravery in the Trolley Square shooting.[23]

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.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ February 15, 2007 DISTURBING: What You Don’t Know About the Muslim Trolley Square Terrorist By Debbie Schlussel
  2. ^ a b "Gunman Opens Fire at Trolley Square". KSL-TV. 2007-02-12. Retrieved 2007-02-12. 
  3. ^ "Emotionless killer gunned down victims randomly". Salt Lake Tribune. 2007-02-13. Retrieved 2007-02-13. 
  4. ^ a b "Trolley Square killer, 18, had two weapons, police say". Salt Lake Tribune. 2007-02-13. Retrieved 2007-02-13. 
  5. ^ a b "Officer called hero following Utah rampage". Associated Press. 2007-02-13. Retrieved 2007-02-13. 
  6. ^ "Police, DA give further details in Trolley shooting". Deseret Morning News. 2007-02-17. Retrieved 2007-02-18. 
  7. ^ Deseret Morning News | Off-duty officer shrugs off 'heroic' label
  8. ^ "Their stories: Bystanders shocked by killings". The Salt Lake Tribune. 2007-02-14. Retrieved 2007-07-01. 
  9. ^ "Police ID victims, killer in shooting". The Salt Lake Tribune. 2007-02-13. Retrieved 2007-02-13. 
  10. ^ "Sulejman Talović ubio pet, a teško ranio četiri osobe". Dnevni Avaz. 2007-02-15. Retrieved 2007-02-15. (Bosnian)
  11. ^ "More details emerging on Trolley Square gunman and victims". Deseret Morning News. 2007-02-13. Retrieved 2007-02-13. 
  12. ^ "Killer identified as 18-year-old Sulejmen Talovic". Salt Lake Tribune. 2007-02-13. Retrieved 2007-02-13. 
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ "Police: Off-Duty Cop Saved Lives In Mall". CBS News. 2007-02-13. Retrieved 2007-02-13. 
  15. ^ "Off-Duty cop helped end Utah mall rage", Associated Press, Feb. 13, 2007
  16. ^ "Trolley Square Shooter's Family Speaks to the Media", KSL-TV, Feb. 18, 2007
  17. ^ Gun laws in the US
  18. ^ Why No Mention That Salt Lake Shooter Was Muslim?, Fox News
  19. ^ Speckman, Stephen (2007-02-22). "Cannon Takes Back 'Allah' Quote". Deseret Morning News. 
  20. ^ Burbank Says Evidence Does Not Support 'Personal Jihad' in Mall Shooting", KCPW-FM, Feb. 22, 2007. For the video, see amateur video clip recording of the mall shooting
  21. ^ "Trolley Square: A search for answers". Salt Lake Tribune. 2007-02-15. Retrieved 2007-02-17. 
  22. ^ "FBI rules out terrorism in Utah shooting", Post Independent, Feb. 14, 2007
  23. ^ "Five officers were honored at Utah state capitol". KUTV. 2007-02-16. Archived from the original on 2007-02-17. Retrieved 2007-02-16. 

External links[edit]