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Police ID suspect fatally shot in alleged Orem carjacking; shooter not identified

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Posted at 3:51 PM, May 04, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-04 23:25:00-04

OREM, Utah -- Orem police has identified a man fatally shot by a man with a concealed carry permit Saturday after the suspect allegedly attempted to carjack a woman in a Maceys parking lot.

On Monday afternoon Lt. Craig Martinez, spokesman for Orem police, said the suspected carjacker was Taulagi Matafeo, 26, of Springville. Martinez said the names of the shooter or the woman who was being allegedly carjacked will not be released.

On Saturday Matafeo reportedly attempted to carjack the woman in a Mercedes and that’s when a shopper, only identified as a 31-year-old male, confronted the suspect.

At about 11:19 a.m. the shooter called 911 claiming that a man had just tried to steal a woman's car, that the caller was a concealed carry holder and had taken the suspect by gunpoint, according to a press release from Orem police.

Listen to 911 call here:

The release states Matafeo got out of the woman's and put his hands up, however he eventually lunged at the caller and tried to grab the gun. That's when the caller shot the suspect one time in the chest.

Lt. Craig Martinez with Orem police speaks to media about weekend carjacking/shooting. Doug Flagler/FOX 13 News

Lt. Craig Martinez with Orem police speaks to media about weekend carjacking/shooting. Doug Flagler/FOX 13 News

Matafeo suffered a single gunshot wound and was transported to Utah Valley Hospital, where he died from his injuries.

While it is early on in the investigation, police say, it is unlikely that the shooter will face charges stemming from this incident.

Prior to the shooting, police responded to a report of a fight at Summit Ridge Apartment Complex in the area of 1700 South and 400 East at about 10:44 a.m. When the first officer arrived, the release states, he spoke with a woman in the parking lot. She was yelling that her friend had just been assaulted and that the person responsible was leaving in a blue Acura TL passenger car.

The officer on scene saw the vehicle and made eye contact with the driver, the release states. The officer hit his horn to get the driver to stop.

Police say the driver accelerated and the officer turned on emergency equipment in an attempt to get the car to stop. The driver went over a curb and patch of grass in the parking lot, nearly hitting a pedestrian walking in the area.

Police say the driver of the Acura left the parking lot and north on 400 East then east onto 1400 South, then north onto State Street. Because of the time of day and the amount of traffic, the officer terminated the pursuit.

A short time later, police say, the driver stopped at 985 S. 400 East and the occupants in the vehicle fled on foot. A containment was set up and two of the passengers were caught. The driver was not.

At 11:07 a.m., police received a report of a stolen Ford F-250 taken from the area of 800 South and 500 East. Police say the owner of the truck followed the suspect in another car and provided dispatch with updates on location.

Lindon police caught up to the truck and engaged in a pursuit, police say. It was soon terminated.

At that point, Matafeo drove to Maceys 800 N. State Street. While at the grocery store, police say, Matafeo abandoned the truck and went to steal another vehicle in the parking lot.

Police say Matafeo had several felony warrants. Officers are actively searching for the other two suspects involved in the original incident.

Matafeo's released a statement regarding the incident Monday. See the full statement below:

Today they will make public our name and they will make it appear they have all the answers. Since Saturday, not one story has been correct, not one story has been the same. That is okay because similar to facebook and most social media we simply cannot grasp the human spirit or even the emotion. So today I will become a media rep. It does not matter what they say or write, it will not bring my son back.

He did not attack or even have a weapon. He was scared and panicked and just trying to find a way to get home. Taulagi was not perfect, he struggled, but he was surrounded by many loving individuals who were trying to help him. He wanted to be happy, and for the most part he was. He loved unconditionally. He cried a lot with us, because he hated haveing pain and creating pain. Taulagi putting it simply just wanted to be loved and accepted and recognized. Therefore he gave hugs and amazing ones.

If the Media or anyone wants to do a great story. Do a truthful one about real people and the families that have these struggles. Do a story on how nearly impossible it is to get help, so many closed doors. Do a story and I am serious: on how the system almost encourages certain behaviors. Do a story and hopefully save someone from this tragedy or a family.

Lastly to the gun owners -- I know you think that I will become anti-gun. I believe we all have rights and owning a gun is one of those. Remember that owning a gun comes huge responsibility, the individual who shot my son will now have to carry that burden with him forever. He shot someone's son, father, brother, uncle, someone who was loved tremendously. He is not a hero nor is he a traitor. He was someone who shot a defenseless man. My sons actions has created a lot of pain for many families. We are sorry.

Please go out and hug someone today. Look someone in the eyes who is struggling and let them know they are loved and help is there. Do not judge anyone. Hold your families tight.