SALT LAKE CITY — A man shot and killed at the Gallivan Plaza TRAX station Thursday night was carrying an explosive device, police confirmed Friday.
Anthony Mayhew, 39, of West Jordan, was shot by police after claiming to have a bomb in a red backpack he was carrying. Police determined Friday that Mayhew was telling the truth.
"It was a bomb," Salt Lake City police detective Dennis McGowan said. "It was some type of explosive device."
The strength or "explosive capacity" of the device had not been determined Friday, McGowan said.
Police say Mayhew began making threats on the TRAX station near 250 S. Main around 9 p.m. Thursday.
"He was loud (and) got people's attention," McGowan said. "He threatened that he had a bomb on his person, and he threatened to detonate it."
Police arrived and attempted to communicate with Mayhew and calm him down, McGowan said. After nearly two hours of negotiation, Mayhew began approaching officers, despite their warnings.
"(Officers) issued repeated commands for him to stop," McGowan said. "He was agitated, and he said he had a bomb. It appeared as though he had a trigger device in his hand, with wires leading to a backpack. All indications were that he was quite dangerous."
Mayhew was shot once by an officer and died shortly afterward. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital but likely died in transit, McGowan said.
"His motives are not clear at this point, and what his mindset was is not clear," the detective said. "We're still trying to piece it all together."
The shooting officer, who was not identified, was placed on administrative leave, which is standard protocol in an officer-involved shooting investigation.
Court records indicate Mayhew had a history of civil and criminal complaints filed against him. Since 1995, Mayhew had been charged in several incidents for assault, burglary, kidnapping and hate crimes, but all charges were dismissed in court.
In 2003, Brenda Monik requested and was granted a protective order against Mayhew, alleging co-habitant abuse. That order was dismissed Tuesday — at Mayhew's request, Monik said.
That hearing in 3rd District Court was the first time Monik had seen or talked to Mayhew — the father of her 11-year-old daughter — in roughly 10 years, she said.
"We had gone (to court) to have a protective order dropped," Monik said during an interview outside her Salt Lake City apartment Friday. "He had complied (with the order). He kind of wanted to work on getting his life together."
Court records show that there had been no violation of the protective order since 2005.
Monik said Mayhew wanted the order dismissed because "for him, it was something that kept him from moving on."
As they left the courthouse Tuesday, Monik said Mayhew apologized for problems the two had during their four-year relationship.
"He caught me on the way out and just apologized for everything, the past, and said he was really sorry," she said. "He really seemed like he was doing well, that maybe things were going in the right direction for him."
Monik said she was shocked when she learned of Mayhew's death and circumstances surrounding it.
"I didn't find out until (Friday) morning," she said. "I was just shocked. I wasn't expecting that. … I never, ever him took for someone who would try to harm himself. I didn't see that."
Monik said she met with a school counselor Friday to tell her daughter about Mayhew's death.
Life in West Jordan
Mayhew's neighbors in West Jordan described him as friendly and helpful. Darryl Lehmitz, a local bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said Mayhew had grown up in the area and moved back about a year ago to live with his mother.
Elisha Palmer said Mayhew had been nice to the kids in the neighborhood and helped his neighbors with a sprinkler project.
"He was a nice neighbor," Palmer said. "I knew he had a past, but we never talked about it."
The bomb threats began directly in front of the KUTV studios at 299 S. Main. The station reported the man called the newsroom and told them he had a detonator and a bomb strapped to his chest. One witness said at first no one took him seriously.
"He had a wire hanging out of his backpack and a trigger on it, but then he tells me not to worry," said Mark Browarsky, who was at the station when the man approached him. "You know, the guy was not making any sense, babbling. We just walked away, and I immediately called 911."
When police arrived at the TRAX station, they cleared everyone from the platform. Mayhew claimed his backpack was full of explosives.
Police were negotiating with him until about 10:50 p.m., when he stopped talking with officers.
"Approximately five minutes later, he started walking toward officers, who commanded him to stop," according to a police report. "Fearing for their lives and given the credible threat of an explosive device, an officer fired one shot, striking the suspect."
Medical personnel did not immediately attend to the man until police robots were able to move in and remove the backpack. McGowan said the backpack was "disrupted" by the robots and its contents were gathered by police for examination.
In 2009, Mayhew was charged with breaking into a home and assaulting a man. Mayhew claimed he had heard a woman in distress and came to her aid. Those charges were dismissed after the home's owner failed to appear in court to testify.
In August, Mayhew filed a civil lawsuit against the state of Utah, claiming the criminal charges against him had caused him to develop post-traumatic stress disorder, interfered with his ability to find work and led to his bankruptcy. In 2012, Mayhew also filed civil lawsuits against South Salt Lake, West Jordan, the United States and plasma collection company CSL Behring.
On an online blogging profile that appears to be written by Mayhew, he described himself as a "notorious" member of a Japanese organized crime organization, a leading expert on crime and crime prevention, a former hit man and a criminal contractor. He also appears to boast of his previous run-ins with the law, writing that he has been incarcerated more than 35 times and charged with dozens of violent crimes but never linked to a homicide or sentenced to a U.S. prison.
"I prevent violent crimes from bleeding off into the civil world," says a quote in his online bio. "Let the Criminal Underworld be my domain for the Criminal Code is my Holy Bible."
Contributing: Jed Boal and Andrew Wittenberg
Copyright 2017, Deseret News Publishing Company