US /
Defendant Shot, Killed in Courtroom During Trial
Siale Angilau rushed the witness, got taken down
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2014 4:32 PM CDT
This Feburary 2012 photo, provided by the Utah Department of Corrections, shows Siale Angilau.   (AP Photo/Utah Department of Corrections)

(Newser) – The defendant in a racketeering trial was shot and killed today when he rushed a witness in the Salt Lake City federal courthouse. Siale Angilau, an alleged member of the Tongan Crip gang, was being tried for his alleged involvement in gang-related crimes, including the 2007 shooting of two deputy US marshals. As Vaiola Mataele Tenifa, currently serving 30 years on robbery and aggravated assault convictions, testified, Angilau ran toward him in an "aggressive, threatening manner," the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

Angilau was holding a pen or pencil at the time and appeared about to punch the witness, and a US marshal in court shot him multiple times in the chest. The 25-year-old died later at a local hospital. It was just the second day of his trial, the last in a series of cases related to the Tongan Crip gang the federal government has been prosecuting since 2007. When the shooting occurred, Tenifa was testifying about the gang and how it works, USA Today reports.

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Showing 3 of 120 comments
Anita Marie York
Apr 22, 2014 12:36 PM CDT
While I understand folks' feelings of disgust with people like this man who was shot and killed, and agree that the "effort" to control them seems to be never-ending, I still hate to see such a young man die. And I have to wonder why he--with only a pen or pencil as his weapon--required several shots to the chest. Wouldn't one have brought him down? I really do worry about the "police state" mentality that so many law officers have. It is not their job to execute, yet many of them seem so bent on violent treatment of suspects. I do believe, however, that this man, if he were truly a criminal, should have been punished severely enough to control his impulse to further criminal behavior. I despair of this so-called "cruel and unusual punishment" phobia our society has. Punishment needs to be severe enough to bring crime under control. Very, very, very, few violent criminals feel any compassion for their victims, and it is unjust to expect victims and their families to just bear up to the crime they suffer, while the perpetrator seems to get all the consideration. If he hanged murderers on the public square, and put lesser offenders in stocks on the public square, and made those in jails or prisons do hard labor for their keep, we would see a lot less repeat criminal behavior. But going to jail today is almost like going on holiday: free room and board, free recreation, etc. It just definitely is not severe enough to motivate people to stay out of trouble. Still, however, our police officers do not need to become thugs in their handling of these lawbreakers.
Apr 22, 2014 12:07 PM CDT
Nobody cares about a worthless piece of crap.
Apr 22, 2014 11:34 AM CDT
If they had a Star Chamber then we would have to go through this.