Talović was a permanent resident who emigrated with
his family from Bosnia to the United States in 1998. Talović
received a green card in 2005 and lived with his mother in Salt Lake
City. He had a record of minor juvenile incidents and had dropped
out of high school at age 16.. Talović often attended Friday prayers
at the Al-Noor mosque in Salt Lake City.
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."
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 American War on Terrorism some
conservatives, including commentator John Gibson and congressman
Chris Cannon have 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.
However, police investigators conclude that Talović
said no such thing and was shouting expletives during his assault.
Ajka Onerović was quoted as saying, "We are Muslims, but we are not
terrorists," and FBI agent Patrick Kiernan has stated that he has no
reason to suspect terrorism.
Square shooting was a shooting rampage that occurred on February
12, 2007, at Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City, Utah.
resulted in the deaths of five bystanders and the shooter himself,
as well as the wounding of at least 4 others. The killer's massacre
was fatally halted by 5 police officers, including one off duty
officer who had been at a restaurant with his wife prior to the
The gunman, Sulejman Talović, was
an eighteen year-old Bosniak immigrant. He had a history of minor
juvenile incidents, had dropped out of high school and had been
living in Salt Lake City with his mother.
On February 12, 2007, at 6:44 PM
MST, Talović began a deadly shooting in Trolley Square resulting in
the deaths of five bystanders and the shooter himself, as well as
the wounding of at least 4 others. Talovic 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,
and Sgt. Andrew Oblad of the Salt Lake City Police Department; their
actions prevented further loss of innocent lives. 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 comprised
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 in saving countless lives.
According to local TV station ABC
4, 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. Nothing is yet known
of the gunman's motive. Several victims were transported to local
hospitals, some in critical condition.
One of the victims was a
16-year-old boy found in his car with a wound to the side of his
head; another, Cedric Wilson, was grazed in the head by a bullet,
but suffered only minor injuries.
- Teresa Ellis, 29
- Brad Frantz, 24
- Kirsten Hinckley, 15
- Vanessa Quinn, 28
- Jeffery Walker, 53
Wounded and hospitalized are:
- Carolyn Tuft, 43 (mother of Kirsten
- Shawn Munns, 34
- Stacy Hanson, 53
"A.J." Walker, 16 (son of Jeffery Walker)
Five officers were honored at the
Utah state capitol on February 16 for their bravery in the Trolley
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
Gunman kills 5 in shooting spree at Salt Lake City mall before being
killed by Police
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
SALT LAKE CITY —
The trench coat-clad gunman who killed five people and wounded four
at a shopping mall before being fatally shot by police calmly fired
a shotgun at his victims and had a handgun, authorities and
Detectives were trying
to determine what sparked the rampage at the
shopping mall on Monday night.
Salt Lake City police
Detective Robin Snyder said the shooter was an 18-year-old from the
Salt Lake City area, but she did not release his name. She said he
used a shotgun and had a handgun and several rounds of ammunition.
interviewed 100 to 200 witnesses, people left candles and flowers at two
memorials outside the mall for the victims.
Many people forced to
leave their cars overnight returned Tuesday to pick them up and reflect
on what happened.
"I've worked here for 28
years. It's been the safest place to be," said Steve Farr, who saw pools
of blood and broken glass throughout the mall when he was allowed in to
check his jewelry store.
Marie Smith, 23, a
Bath & Body
manager, said she had seen the gunman through the store window. She
watched as he raised his gun and fired at a young woman approaching him
"His expression stayed
totally calm. He didn't seem upset, or like he was on a rampage," said
Smith, who crawled to an employee restroom to hide with others. He
looked like "an average Joe," she said.
Killed in the attack
were two 28-year-old women, a 52-year-old man, a 24-year-old man and a
15-year-old girl, Snyder said. Four people were hospitalized — a man and
a woman in critical condition and two men in serious condition, Snyder
For hours after the
rampage, police searched stores for scared, shocked shoppers and
employees who were hunkered down awaiting a safe escort.
Matt Lund was visiting
his wife, Barbara, manager of the Secret Garden children's clothing
store, when he heard the first shots. The couple and three others hid in
a storage room for about 40 minutes, isolated but still able to hear the
"We heard them say,
'Police! Drop your weapon!' Then we heard shotgun fire. Then there was a
barrage of gunfire," said Lund, 44. "It was hard to believe."
Witnesses said officers
treated everyone like suspects — ordering those hiding in storerooms,
bathrooms or under stairwells, to lie on the floor with their hands on
their heads until police were sure no one posed a threat.
On the way out, Lund
said, he saw a woman's body face-down at the entrance to the Pottery
Barn Kids store and a man's body on the floor in the mall's east-west
corridor. "There were a lot of blown-out store windows and shotgun shell
casings all over the floor," Lund said. "It was quite surreal."
The victims were found
throughout the 239,000-square-foot (21,510-square-meter) shopping mall.
Outside, streets were
blocked as police swarmed the four-block scene. Dozens of people
lingered on the sidewalk, many wrapped in blankets, as they talked about
what they had seen inside.
The two-story mall,
southeast of downtown, is a refurbished trolley barn built in 1908, with
a series of winding hallways, brick floors, wrought-iron balconies and
about 80 stores, including high-end retailers such as Williams-Sonoma
and restaurants such as the Hard Rock Cafe.
Antiques store owner
Barrett Dodds, 29, said he saw a man in a trench coat exchanging gunfire
with a police officer outside a card store. The gunman, he said, was
backed into a children's clothing store.
"I saw the shooter go
down," said Dodds, who watched from the second floor.
Four police officers —
one an off-duty officer from Ogden and three Salt Lake City officers —
were involved in the shootout with the gunman, Snyder said. She provided
no other details.
Barb McKeown, 60, of
Washington, D.C., was in another antiques shop when two frantic women
ran in and reported gunshots.
"Then we heard shot
after shot after shot — loud, loud, loud," said McKeown, saying she
heard about 20. She and three other people hid under a staircase until
it was safe to leave.
The mall was purchased
in August by Scanlan Kemper Bard Cos. of Portland, Oregon, from Simon
Property Group for $38.6 million. The company said it planned to invest
$80 million, attract a new anchor tenant and possibly add condominiums.
"We are devastated and
shocked by this senseless, random act of violence and tragedy at Trolley
Square, owner Tom Bard said in a statement posted on the KSL-TV Web
site. "At this time our greatest concern and prayers are with the
victims, their families and loved ones."
Off-duty Officer prevented massacre in Salt Lake City mall shooting
spree, Police say
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
SALT LAKE CITY — An
off-duty police officer credited with helping stop a deadly shooting
rampage at a Utah shopping mall said his experience helped him react
quickly to confront the gunman.
Kenneth K. Hammond,
who was at the mall for an early Valentine’s Day dinner with his wife,
said he first thought the sound of gunfire was construction noise but
drew his gun and told his wife to call the police when he realized what
"I've been in situations
before where I've had to chase a guy who was pointing a gun at me,"
Hammond, 33, said Tuesday.
Investigators were still
trying to figure out why Sulejmen Talovic, an 18-year-old Bosnian
immigrant, opened fire Monday on shoppers, killing five and injuring
Hammond, who fired on
Talovic, is being credited with drawing the gunman's attention until
other officers could reach the scene. Talovic was killed, although it
was unclear which officer fired the fatal shot, police said.
"I feel like I was there
and did what I had to do," Hammond said.
Talovic had a backpack
full of ammunition, a shotgun and a .38-caliber pistol, police said.
Investigators knew little about him, except that he lived in Salt Lake
City with his mother, the police chief said. He was enrolled in numerous
city schools before withdrawing in 2004, the school district said.
Talovic's aunt, Ajka
Onerovic, emerged briefly from the family's house to say relatives had
no idea why the young man attacked so many strangers. She said the
family moved to Utah from Bosnia.
"He was a such a good
boy. I don't know what happened," she told Salt Lake City television
Talovic drove to the
Trolley Square shopping center — a century-old former trolley barn with
winding hallways, brick floors and wrought-iron balconies — and
immediately killed two people, then a third as he came through a door,
Burbank said. Five other people were then shot in a gift shop, he said.
Four people who were
wounded remained hospitalized Tuesday, two in critical condition, two in
One of the wounded
shoppers, Shawn Munns, 34, was alone outside the mall after a meal with
his wife and two stepchildren when Talovic blasted him with a shotgun,
according to sister-in-law Jodie Sparrow.
With dozens of pellets
embedded in his side, Munns staggered into a restaurant and warned
diners about the gunman, Sparrow said.
Outside the mall,
candles and flowers were left as memorials to those killed.
The state Senate wants
to honor Hammond, said his boss, Police Chief Jon Greiner, who is also a
Hammond said Tuesday he
didn't feel like a hero.
"We were there for a
reason. I had my gun on me for a reason. We decided to eat dessert,
which we never do, for a reason," Hammond said.
"Everything happened for a reason."