4 People Charged In Probe Of Guns Used In Teen's Utah Mall Shooting
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ Four people, including a U.S. Army soldier, were indicted Thursday in connection with a teenage Bosnian immigrant's February shooting rampage that left five people dead at a shopping mall.
The indictments charge three people in the illegal sale of a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun to a juvenile, and a gun dealer for selling a 12-gauge shotgun with a pistol grip. Both of the weapons were used in the rampage, authorities said.
Sulejman Talovic, 18, killed five people and left four others with bullet wounds at Trolley Square on Feb. 12. He was killed by police who rushed to the Salt Lake City mall to stop the massacre.
Mackenzie Glade Hunter, 19, and Brenden Taylor Brown, 20, both of West Jordan, Utah, are accused of arranging the sale of the handgun last summer in Rock Springs, Wyo. Both pleaded not guilty.
Investigators traced the revolver to an original owner in Wyoming who had reported it as missing, said Lori Dyer, an agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Another man sold it to Hunter, who delivered it to Salt Lake City for a sale arranged by Brown, she said.
A third defendant, Matthew Hautala of Wyoming, was described as a witness to the handgun deal and was indicted for denying knowledge of the sale to federal investigators. Authorities did not give further details. The U.S. Army private is assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment, a basic combat training unit, at Fort Jackson in South Carolina, spokesman Jim Hinnant said.
``The chain of command at Fort Jackson is fully cooperating with the appropriate law-enforcement authorities,'' said Hinnant.
The fourth man in the case is Westley Wayne Hill, who was charged with selling a Maverick Arms shotgun with pistol grip to Talovic and failing to keep a record of the transaction. Hill is an employee of Sportsman's Fast Cash Pawn in West Valley City, a Salt Lake City suburb.
A long gun with a built-in pistol grip instead of shoulder stock can be sold only to a person 21 or older, Dyer said.
None of the four are accused of knowing about Talovic's plan to go on a shooting spree. Hunter, however, told investigators he believed Talovic was going to use the handgun for a bank robbery. Authorities speaking at a news conference couldn't say how he came to that conclusion.
Hunter ``definitely maintains his innocence,'' said Heather Harris, an attorney who represented him at his arraignment.
Brown's federal defender, Steven Killpack, said, ``One thing I'm certain of is that my client had no knowledge of what those guns were going to be used for. Nor was he accused of having any such knowledge.''
It wasn't clear whether Hill or Hautala had lawyers.
Investigators have been unable to determine Talovic's motive for the mall shooting. They said they found 90 shotgun shells inside his backpack.