Teen Holding Broomstick Is Shot by Police in Salt Lake City, Sparks Protests

The unidentified minor is listed in critical condition after being shot several times by at least one officer.

A police officer shows off a newly deployed body camera attached to his shirt collar on March 2, 2015, in West Valley City, Utah.
A police officer shows off a newly deployed body camera attached to his shirt collar on March 2, 2015, in West Valley City, Utah. George Frey/Getty Images

A teenager was reportedly shot by police in Salt Lake City on Saturday, sparking hostilities from bystanders and resulting in the deployment of about 100 police officers to the downtown area, reports the Salt Lake Tribune.

Witnesses say that the incident occurred around 8 p.m. near a downtown homeless shelter, and there are some social media reports that the teen was homeless.

Selam Mohammad, 19, told the Salt Lake Tribune that his friend was 16 and had been shot in the chest and stomach after he got into a fight with another person. He said that the unidentified minor was holding a broomstick at his side when police ran up on him.

“They told him to put it down, once, and started shooting him as soon as he turned around,” according to Mohammad, who said that his friend was hit in the chest and stomach.

Salt Lake Tribune journalists say they heard onlookers yelling obscenities at police and throwing rocks. Almost 100 officers, some carrying riot shields, arrived on the scene shortly afterward. Police closed the Trax Blue Line before the Old Greektown stop, providing difficulties for some fans leaving the Utah Jazz game that evening.

Salt Lake City police late Saturday confirmed the involvement of one officer, and possibly a second, in the shooting.

Police also confirm that the victim was taken to the hospital and was in surgery as of Sunday morning. Detective Ken Hansen of the Unified Police Department said that the young man’s condition was listed as critical and that he sustained wounds to his upper and lower torso.

The Tribune reports that the Police Department has launched an investigation into the shooting, which may include evidence from body cameras.

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