A defendant has died after being shot by a US marshal during an attack on a witness during a trial in a new federal courthouse in Salt Lake City.
Siale Angilau, 25, died at a hospital after he was shot in the chest as he rushed the witness with a pen in an “aggressive, threatening manner”, the FBI said.
Angilau was shot several times in front of a jury that had been selected on Friday.
He was one of 17 people named in a 29-count racketeering indictment filed in 2010 accusing gang members of assault, conspiracy, robbery and weapons offences. He was the last defendant in the case to stand trial.
Under standard procedures, Angilau was not restrained in the courtroom, the FBI said.
Perry Caldwell, who was in the courtroom with his daughter, said Angilau was shot several times as he lunged towards the witness stand.
At least six shots were fired, he said.
The witness, who was not injured, appeared to be in his mid-20s and was testifying about gang initiation, Caldwell said. The person was not identified.
Caldwell and his daughter were in court to support his mother, Sandra Keyser, who was punched in the face during a hold up in 2002 and was scheduled to testify.
“It was kind of traumatising,” Sara Jacobson, Caldwell’s daughter, said of the shooting.
Prosecutors said Angilau robbed convenience stores and assaulted clerks in Salt Lake City five times from 2002 to 2007. A clerk was shot in the final robbery, the indictment said.
US District Judge Tena Campbell declared a mistrial after the shooting.
Angilau’s lawyer, Michael Langford, declined to take questions as he left the courthouse.
Angilau’s trial was among the first at the new $185 million federal courthouse opened a week ago in downtown Salt Lake City next door to a century-old federal courthouse.
The towering building is designed to withstand blasts and also contains bulletproof glass in some areas.
Security measures include separate routes in and out for judges, prisoners and the public. In the old courthouse, they all used the same hallways.