A 19-year-old man was shot Friday afternoon during a gang-related fight in front of Crossroads Plaza downtown.
Several people were standing around the normally busy bus stop area at 50 S. Main and saw a man shoot the victim in the back as he was running away. "It's a wonder some innocent bystander didn't get hurt," Salt Lake Police Lt. John Schroen said.Witnesses said about five teenagers were yelling and punching each other on the sidewalk area just before 1 p.m. Police and witnesses said the youths were arguing over gang affiliations and gang colors. At least one of the participants fell to the ground.
"All of a sudden I saw a gun fly out of a guy's pocket," Lou Morresi said. The man reached down, grabbed the weapon and fired it once into the back of a man who was running away.
"He was sort of fumbling with it," Morresi said. "He just aimed and shot."
Another witness said the victim kept running for several yards until he stopped at one of the concrete planters set up along Main Street.
"People are just standing around like they didn't know what was going on - like it was a movie or something," Morresi said.
Minutes later, officer Craig Merrill spotted a man a block away matching the description of the gunman. The man was sitting on a concrete wall in front of the Marriott Hotel, 75 S. West Temple. "I guess he was just trying to blend in," one witness said.
Officers frisked the suspect and recovered a .25-caliber pistol - a Saturday night special - in his pocket.
A tour bus for the rap group Ice-T pulled up in front of the hotel as officers arrived to arrest the suspect. Members of the band and crew stayed inside the bus with the door closed and peered out the window. One crew member eventually came out, joining news photographers taking photographs of police and the suspect.
Police cordoned off the area where the victim was shot. A bloodied T-shirt was set inside the planter. Officers also collected a spent shell casing.
Detectives said they believe the gun belonged to the suspect. When it fell out of his pants or jacket, the victim apparently saw it and began running away.
A man who identified himself as Anton Mataele, 19, was taken to LDS Hospital, where he was in fair condition late Friday. Police still are trying to confirm his identity.
Antwon Warren, also 19, Salt Lake City, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of aggravated assault.