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Man charged with attempted murder in connection with police shootout that wounded officer

The police officer suffered a shattered femur and a severed femoral artery.

A South Jordan man who was shot multiple times by police during a November shootout with officers has been charged with attempted aggravated murder, court records show.

The shootout left one officer with a severed femoral artery and a shattered femur — injuries that were considered “potentially fatal,” according to a probable cause statement.

Malui Salesi Vehikite, 29, also was formally charged Monday in 3rd District Court with two counts of assault against a peace officer, one count of possession or use of a controlled substance and one count of purchase, transfer, possession or use of a firearm by a restricted person. He was booked into jail on Saturday after he was released from a hospital for treatment.

The shooting happened at about 8 p.m. Nov. 26 as a sergeant and two officers were following up on a stolen vehicle case at a home in a residential cul-de-sac near Bingham High School.

Residents of the home allowed the group of officers to enter, police said. As they looked for the suspect — later identified Vehikite — in a basement bedroom, they saw him holding a gun and walking backward down a hallway. They could hear him say “don’t” or “no,” according to a probable cause statement.

A sergeant then heard gunshots and saw a nearby officer fall to the floor with an injury to his leg.

The sergeant said he then heard several more shots and found Vehikite, who had been struck several times.

According to charging documents, Vehikite can be heard and seen on body camera footage from three different officers pointing a gun at the sergeant, pointing a gun at one officer and shooting that officer, and raising his gun at a third officer.

Investigators found a brass cartridge casing outside the bedroom door — the same location where Vehikite could be seen on camera shooting an officer, charging documents state. The casing doesn’t match any of the ammunition that officers fired that day, the documents note, and the gun that Vehikite used to shoot the officer was found at the scene.

After executing a search warrant at Vehikite’s residence that night, officers found bullet fragments, several guns, cartridge casings, marijuana, drug paraphernalia and a mixture of pills in a prescription bottle that didn’t belong to him, the documents state. Officers also found several IDs and credit cards that weren’t Vehikite’s.

Days after the shooting, Vehikite stated that “[he] just didn’t want to go to jail,” according to charging documents.

Prosecutors requested Monday that Vehikite be held without bail. The names of the officers involved in the shooting have not been released.

The shooting marked the 28th police shooting this year in Utah.

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