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Tom Smart, Deseret News
Investigators confer near the covered body of a man who was fatally shot Wednesday on West Temple at about 1400 South in Salt Lake City. The victim's belonging are on the crosswalk curb.

The fatal shooting death of a man on a Salt Lake street Wednesday afternoon may have been a case of self-defense, according to police.

Mike James May, 47, was shot and killed in front of a Salt Lake restaurant following what witnesses described as an ongoing argument between two people.

About 12:20 p.m., two men got into some sort of dispute near the corner of 1400 South and West Temple, said Salt Lake police detective Jeff Bedard.

"They were arguing back and forth. The one man went away and then came back. He took off his backpack and went toward the other man in a way that I would call aggressively," said Mitch McMillen who watched the scenario unfold before him as he sat on his porch across the street.

When the man with the backpack went after the other man, the other man pulled out a gun and fired once, fatally striking the victim.

Yellow crime scene tape surrounded the intersection where the body lay. The man's backpack was a few feet away in front of Mama's Southern Plantation Restaurant, across from Franklin Covey Field. A white blanket covered the victim except for his white tennis shoes as homicide detectives conducted their investigation.

The alleged shooter stayed at the scene after the incident and waited for police to arrive. He was taken to police headquarters for questioning. Bedard said the man was very up-front with detectives about the shooting and his involvement.

"The victim contributed to the confrontation that led to his death, and our investigation unit has been in close consultation with the DA's office," he said. "The police department has chosen not to book the responsible party."

The case will still be screened with the Salt Lake District Attorney's Office for possible charges even though the man was not arrested.

The death is the second fatal shooting in Salt Lake since Sunday. Maria Del Carmen Menchaca, 7, was shot and killed while playing on the sidewalk in front of her house when she was caught in the middle of what police called an ongoing dispute between rival gangs.

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