02/17/2007

5 officers saluted at Utah state Capitol

By PAUL FOY Associated Press Writer


Ogden City Master Officer Ken Hammond, center, stands with Salt Lake City police officers Sgt. Andrew Oblad, Sgt. Josh Scharman, Det. Brett Olsen and Det. Dustin Marshall, left to right, as they and the state senators hold a moment of silence for those killed, Friday, Feb. 16, 2007, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)

SALT LAKE CITY — Police officers acted properly in gunning down a Bosnian teenager who shot five people to death in a mall crowded with shoppers, a prosecutor said Friday.

"They were legally justified in using deadly force," District Attorney Lohra Miller said.

Miller cleared four Salt Lake City officers who shot at the gunman.

Ogden Officer Ken Hammond, who was off-duty and out of uniform but armed as he had dinner with his wife, was the first to trade shots with Sulejman Talovic, 18, at the Trolley Square mall Monday, investigators have said.

Miller found no fault with Hammond, but his role was being reviewed by Weber County authorities because he does not work in Salt Lake County.

Salt Lake Police Chief Chris Burbank said his officers were expected to return to work within weeks.

Later Friday, the five officers were publicly saluted at the state Capitol by the Legislature and Gov. Jon Huntsman. Hammond was given a medal by his boss, Ogden Police Chief Jon Greiner, who also is a state senator.

"I feel bad that I didn't react sooner and prevent more loss of lives," Hammond told lawmakers. "But I'm also very thankful I was there."

Investigators have not determined a motive.

"I am so sorry to everybody. ... Who gave him the gun to shoot? I think someone influenced him to do this," said Talovic's father, Suljo Talovic, who with his family emigrated here in 1998.

Several thousand people from the Balkans have settled in the Salt Lake City area, many of them after fleeing ethnic violence in their homeland.

 

© 2007 The Associated Press

 

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