Accused gang member dies in federal courthouse shooting

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siale-angilauSALT LAKE CITY -- A U.S. Marshal shot-and-killed an alleged gang member who charged at a witness testifying against him during a trial at the federal courthouse here.

Siale Angilau, 25, was facing trial on mafia-style racketeering charges. Witnesses in the courtroom told FOX 13 that an inmate witness, who apparently was a former member of Angilau's gang, was testifying about life inside the gang.

FBI Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge Mark Dressen said Angilau grabbed a pen from the table and rushed up to the witness.

"There were people yelling at him, telling him to stop and he just didn't stop," said Sara Josephson, who was in the courtroom. "He kept going forward with his furiousness."

Perry Caldwell said someone in the courtroom shouted "Get on the floor!" and people ducked behind benches. The FBI said a U.S. Marshal, assigned to provide security for the courtroom, was to the side of the witness and the jury and shot Angilau.

"He (Angilau) was falling as he was still shooting him," Caldwell told FOX 13. "When he was on the ground, I think he got shot like four times on the ground."

The FBI would not say how many times Angilau was shot.

"I believe he was shot in the chest multiple times," Dressen said.

Angilau was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead hours later. His attorney, Michael Langford, declined to comment except to express concern for his client.

The federal courthouse, a silver cube that stands out on the Salt Lake City skyline, has been open for only a week and Angilau's trial was the first jury trial in the new facility. It was locked down for hours. People inside the building were evacuated.

"We're all OK," U.S. Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells told FOX 13 as she was escorted out of the courthouse.

U.S. District Court Judge Tena Campbell, who presided over Angilau's trial, left the courthouse surrounded by security and personnel. She declined to comment to FOX 13.

Campbell immediately declared a mistrial after speaking to jurors who said they were "too shaken up" to continue. The trial had barely begun after a jury had been seated on Friday, the U.S. Attorney's Office for Utah said.

Read Judge Campbell's mistrial order here

In an order issued late Monday, Judge Campbell extended the jury's term for the purposes of them receiving counseling.

Angilau was a member of the Tongan Crip Gang, which had been systematically prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office on racketeering charges. Angilau was the final defendant in the massive case, which stretches back to 2008.

Read the indictment against TCG members here

Federal prosecutors in Utah have targeted street gangs on RICO charges, labeling them as "organized crime" enterprises. Other defendants in the case have been convicted and sentenced to federal prisons across the nation, dismantling the gang's leadership.

Federal authorities would not identify the U.S. Marshal involved in the shooting, except to say it was under investigation. In a statement late Monday, federal authorities said courthouse security was not compromised, nor did they believe Angilau secreted a weapon into the building.

Caldwell said he believed the shooting was justified.

"I think it was warranted because I don't see how you could break up that fight that was happening," he said. "They were on each other. I do believe he (the U.S. Marshal) did the right thing."

The Utah State Prison in Draper and the Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison have gone on lockdown as a security precaution because of the incident, according to the Utah Department of Corrections. Visitation is suspended until further notice.


  • Trish Ramirez

    Bob, this took place in a courtroom. It was a small space. The marshal was within feet of his murder victim. He chose to go for kill shots rather than to disable and preserve life.

    You are just a sanctimonious right-wing nut job who thinks that the only people in this nation deserving of Constitutional rights are the people like YOU.

    Nowhere in our Constitution does it say that American citizens lose their inalienable human rights because they violate an arbitrary law written by some corruptly elected legislator or an order spoken by some thug on the government’s payroll.

    This man was shot at virtually point-blank range over and over again – even after he was incapacitated and not moving on the ground. He was brutally murdered in front of dozens of witnesses, and his murderer will never be disciplined let alone charged. This situation did NOT have to be handled the way it was handled. You can try to tear me down all you want, but we all know that if this had happened to a good little white mormon boy who threw a tantrum in court the reaction from the public would have been a lot different. People are so judgmental and conditioned that they actually believe that the lives of people who believe or behave differently from themselves actually have less value.

    It’s a sickening attitude.


    Sure he was shot 8 times but it was a nice tight grouping. Good work Mr. U.S. Marshall – you did your job. Be on notice maggots….this is what you get when you charge a witness in a U.S. Courtroom..

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