Audio of deadly federal courthouse shooting released

Posted at 4:48 PM, Aug 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-31 23:37:33-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- A recording of a deadly shooting inside a federal courtroom has been released.

A federal  judge allowed the recording of the 2014 shooting of Siale Angilau to be released on Thursday. The recording, made on a court reporter's machine transcribing Angilau's federal racketeering trial, captures the moments before and after he was killed by a U.S. Marshal.

In the recording, a witness is heard testifying against the gang member.

"Striking up on walls…"

There is a noise and then someone shouts "Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!" There are four gunshots and screaming can be heard in the courtroom.

"Get on the ground! Get on the ground!" someone shouts.

In the confusion, you can hear a voice presumably telling Angilau: "Don't f---ing move! Drop the pen! Drop the pen out of your hand!"

Police say during the jury trial, Angilau grabbed a pen and charged at the witness testifying against him in front of the jury. He was shot by a U.S. Marshal in the courtroom providing security.

On the recording, someone is told to call 911. There are screams in the background.

The shooting has been ruled justified, but authorities have refused to release the name of the marshal who fired the fatal shots. Angilau's family filed an excessive force lawsuit against the federal government and the unnamed marshal.

"It didn’t justify killing somebody. It didn’t justify that," Angilau family attorney Robert Sykes said in response to the recording's release.

Crime scene tape outside the U.S. District Courthouse following a shooting in one of the courtrooms on April 21, 2014. (FOX 13 file image)

The judge overseeing the Angilau family's lawsuit has allowed Utah news media outlets, including FOX 13, to intervene, seeking the release of security video from inside the courtroom arguing it is a matter of public interest. Freedom of Information Act requests have been denied and the U.S. Department of Justice has argued against its release.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Cleary heard arguments Tuesday on whether the video should be released with a decision expected soon.

Sykes said he supports release of the video.

"I don't think anything here, anything that has happened in this case, should be sealed. Not public," he said. "As you know, I have a practice, I sue errant law enforcement officers all the time by name. By name! So why should Marshal Doe be any different?"