Police on Saturday night shot a 17 year old Kenyan boy four times, leaving him in a critical condition. Authorities said the incident, which happened in a Mall in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah, USA was caused by an altercation between the victim and unidentified persons, prompting police intervention.
The police got involved by shooting multiple times at the young Kenyan.
Speaking in a press briefing soon after the fatal shooting, Salt Lake City Police Department confirmed that the incident took place in 210 South Rio Grande Street and that the scene was disorderly. The police said it became necessary for the deployment of more than a hundred police officers in the zone.
Salt Lake City Police detective Greg Wilking said Saturday night said:
There was an altercation taking place and our officers intervened,” two officers were involved in the shooting incident.
Detective Wilking said two officers were involved in the shooting. He however did not release the name of the victim, who is currently receiving treatment in a nearby hospital.
A friend of the victim who was also present at the time of the shooting, Selam Mohammad, said police arrived at the scene in which both the teen and an unidentified person were engaging in a hostile argument.
According to Selam:
The police said, ‘Drop it’, once, then they shot him four times. We were trying to break it up before the police even came, but the police ran in on foot and pulled their guns out already. They already had them, like, as soon as he was running he was already grabbing his gun, not even trying to Tase him or anything.
Selam insists that the police didn’t give the victim who was holding a broomstick the chance to drop it as they just began firing shots at the teen prompting an angry reaction from witnesses.
Mohammad, who confirmed that his friend is from Kenya said:
He wasn’t even swinging at anybody and didn’t know that the cops were behind him. He barely turned around before they shot him.
Other witnesses noted that people stoned glass, debris and rocks at police officers, most of who wore protective clothing or equipment against the crowd’s violence.
A handful of agencies were deployed to stamp out the situation with close to 100 officers arriving at the scene. Police said they have seized a few people and potential witnesses were being interviewed.
Hundreds of people reacted furiously insisting that police had no justification to open fire on the young lad who didn’t show any act of defiance as the police didn’t issue several warning. The agitation led to a heavy traffic jam in the busy downtown area.
Detective Wilking added that
People were very upset…they were emotional and we had to send many officers to calm them down.
Another eye witness also said the situation was threatening and nearly uncontrollable as the crowd was really irked at the turn of events. He also noted that the ambulance didn’t arrive on time and throughout that time, the officers stood next to the boy without offering any aid even though he was bleeding severely.
Police did not immediately mention the name of the shooting victim, but said more details would be made available soon. The teen reportedly underwent surgery for three gunshot wounds, and on Sunday afternoon remained in a coma.
The Salt Lake City Police Department confirmed on Sunday that the shooting victim was still in critical condition.