Police, DA give further details in Trolley shooting
|Deseret Morning News graphic Trolley Square shooting rampage|
Salt Lake City Police Sgt. Andy Oblad entered Trolley Square Mall on Monday night from the south entrance, and he soon made contact with off-duty Ogden police officer Ken Hammond, who was on the second level.
Meanwhile, Salt Lake City Police Sgt. Josh Scharman, detective Dustin Marshall and detective Brett Olsen entered the mall from the north. Both groups of officers moved in on 18-year-old Sulejman Talovic, who fired at the officers and was ultimately shot and killed just inside Pottery Barn Kids.
Those were among the new details released by Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank and Salt Lake District Attorney Lohra Miller Friday about the massacre that left six people dead, including the gunman, and four wounded.
The condition of three of those wounded was upgraded by doctors Friday. Stacy Hanson was upgraded from critical to serious condition, as was Carolyn Tuft. Shawn Munns was upgraded from serious to fair condition. Alan "AJ" Walker remained in serious condition.
Miller made her comments while announcing that her office had found that the officers were justified in using deadly force. Although it may seem obvious that the officers acted in an appropriate manner, Miller said, it was important for the officers and the department to get the official clearance.
"Each of these officers is a hero. They have my thanks," she said.
Although she has cleared the officers in her investigation, both the Ogden and Salt Lake City police departments are continuing their own internal investigations. Burbank said the outcome of his department's review should be completed in the coming weeks, and the officers would be able to go back to work.
Burbank said it may be a couple of weeks before his men return to duty, but that may be a good thing for them. Even though the officers involved have been hailed as heroes, that's not exactly how they're feeling right now, Burbank said.
Shooting and killing an 18-year-old man "is a tragic event for any officer," he said. The officers are even feeling remorse for not being able to help the five people who were killed and others who were seriously injured.
"They wanted to help as many people as they could. They're sad they couldn't get there sooner," Burbank said.
It was just seven minutes from the time the first person was shot in the west terrace parking lot to the time the gunman was killed, the district attorney's office said Friday. That time frame is a change of just one minute from what police had reported earlier.
Hammond, who had been enjoying an early Valentine's Day dinner with his wife at Rodizio Grill on the mall's second level, was the first to engage Talovic, even firing his gun at him from the second floor while Talovic was below.
Sarita Hammond, his wife, called 911 and explained to dispatchers that her husband was a police officer, giving them a description of what he was wearing.
"She probably saved his life," said Miller, who noted Hammond could otherwise have been shot by the Salt Lake City police officers.
Other investigators said Oblad, who was the first to have contact with Hammond, also recognized that Hammond did not match the description of the gunman. Furthermore, his actions and demeanor were tips that he was not the killer.
As Hammond joined up with Oblad at the south end of the mall, Scharman, Marshall and Olsen entered from the north, where they heard constant gunfire, Burbank said.
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