Arrest made following weekend Salt Lake City homicide

Posted at 6:18 AM, Jul 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-13 14:20:25-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Days after a weekend brawl outside a downtown Salt Lake City nightclub led police to a homicide nearby, authorities have arrested a suspect in connection to the incident.

WATCH: Club owner wants larger police presence after street brawl

Police said Kepueli Penisini, 21, was arrested and taken into custody on Tuesday.

According to a police statement, Penisini was among a group who approached 37-year-old Yusuf Mohammed at around 2 a.m. Sunday. Witnesses said a person wearing black clothing, later identified as Penisini, punched Mohammed in the face without provocation, causing him to fall to the ground and lose consciousness.

Mohammed was transported to the hospital in critical condition where he later died of his injuries.

Surveillance video from the scene helped detectives identify Penisini as the one who struck Mohammed, leading to his arrest.

Police were already nearby, having arrived at a club at 149 West Pierpont Avenue where they found more than 100 people on the streets outside. A large fight forced officers to attempt to disperse the crowd with assistance from a private security company and Salt Lake County sheriff deputies.

Minutes later they received a report of multiple gunshots being fired in the area, and after responding to the scene found Mohammed laying on the ground with face and head trauma.

The fatal assault, along with the large brawl nearby is at least the second major violent episode to happen on Pierpont Street this year.

“When volatile situations start to happen, walk away! You know, we have a lot of people go; ‘well, he looked at me wrong or said some thing.' Those things don’t hurt, walk away,” said Det. Michelle Mechling with the Salt Lake City Police Department.

Police were already on alert and had extra resources in the area because of complaints from local businesses.

“Yeah and I think the businesses are frustrated too and we are as well, you know? But it takes more than just us being there because we’ve been on scene and had people still do things while police are there on scene, fire rounds while police are on scene, so it’s going to take community members help as well,” explained Mechling.

Penisini was booked into the Salt Lake County Metro Jail and faces one count of criminal homicide by assault.