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(Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune) Police responded Monday, April 21, 2014, to a report of a shooting at the new federal courthouse in downtown Salt Lake City.
Coach: Man shot at Utah courthouse once had promising future
Courts » U.S. marshal shot defendant when he charged witness with a sharp object.
First Published Apr 22 2014 11:44 am • Last Updated Apr 22 2014 10:48 pm

Siale Angilau was a likable guy who once had a promising future, according to a former high school football coach.

But the 5-foot-11, 230-pound Angilau — who became a career criminal, according to prosecutors — was fatally shot by a U.S. marshal on Monday morning when he tried to attack a witness with a pen or pencil during a gang-related racketeering trial in federal court.

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The witness was detailing how the Tongan Crip Gang (TCG) recruited members and operated throughout the Salt Lake Valley when Angilau went at him, according to courtroom spectators.

Angilau died at a hospital from multiple gunshot wounds to the chest at about 2 p.m. Monday.

Court documents allege Angilau and fellow gang members took part in a number of armed robberies and assaults over a five-year period.

But years before he was charged with racketeering or had spent time in prison, Angilau was an outstanding prep football player at East High School, said former coach Aaron Whitehead — now at Olympus. Whitehead said Angilau was not only a dominating nose guard, but also "as a person, as a kid, he was great."

"He was very likable," Whitehead added. "He was very coachable."

Whitehead said he lost touch with Angilau, although he was aware of his troubles with the law.

"I am heartbroken for his family," Whitehead said, "because he’s got a great family."

Angilau’s attorney, Michael Langford, said Tuesday that he spent a lot of time with his client as he defended him over four years during the racketeering case.


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Monday marked the first day of testimony in what was scheduled to be a two-week trial.

"[Angilau] always treated my defense team and me with the utmost respect," Langford told The Salt Lake Tribune. "It was a tragic event for everyone involved. My thoughts right now are with Siale’s loved ones and everyone else affected by this."

There was an outpouring of support for Angilau from the Pacific Islander community across social media. Hashtags like #RIPSialeAngilau circulated on Twitter.

"Heart is aching and heavy ... in disbelief that I’ve lost my nephew so tragically in so little time," Koli Pilivi posted.

Another Angilau is currently facing serious criminal charges in state court. Siale Angilau’s younger brother, 21-year-old Vilisoni Tuino Angilua, was charged last year in 3rd District Court with first-degree felony murder for the alleged gang-related shooting of 19-year-old Sione Fakatoufifita outside a Salt Lake City Maverik store.

On April 13, 2013, Vilisoni Angilua and other gang members allegedly pursued Fakatoufifita through the Glendale area, until they arrived at the store at 1680 S. Redwood Road, where police allege that Vilisoni Angilua found Fakatoufifita and shot him.

No trial dates have been set in that case.

Despite Monday’s violent episode at Salt Lake City’s new federal court building — which opened for business at 400 South and West Temple on April 14 — it appeared to be business as usual there Tuesday. The judge who presided over Angilau’s trial was back to work and no extra security officers were visibly present.

The U.S. marshal who shot Angilau was on paid administrative leave.

Siale Angilau’s trial was being heard in U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell’s courtroom before a jury of 12, plus two alternates — the first trial held in the new facility.

Siale Angilau was among 17 TCG members and associates indicted on racketeering charges in May 2010.

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