THE gunman who shot dead five people in a Salt Lake City shopping mall rampage was an 18-year-old Bosnian refugee, but his motive was a mystery, police said today.
The teenager, dressed in a trench coat and carrying a shotgun, a .38 caliber pistol and what police said was a “backpack full of ammunition,” opened fire at random yesterday, sending terrified shoppers running for cover.
Salt Lake City police chief Chris Burbank said the gunman appeared determined to “shoot as many people as he possibly could.”
Five people were killed and four others were wounded before an off-duty police officer opened fire and stopped the youth from moving farther through the mall.
He was killed by police who arrived in force.
Police identified the gunman as Solejman Talovic, who they said had lived in Salt Lake City for a few years with his mother. He had four minor incidents with police when he was a juvenile, they said.
Investigators today combed through the labyrinth of hallways, stores and restaurants in the Trolley Square shopping complex where the shootings occurred.
Mr Burbank said an off-duty police officer was having an early Valentine’s Day dinner with his wife in the mall when the shooting began. The unidentified officer was the first to engage the gunman. Other officers then arrived and the man was killed.