SALT LAKE CITY — As the investigation into the officer-involved shooting of a 17-year-old boy continued, the teen involved underwent another surgery Tuesday.
Abdullahi Mohamed, 17, was shot by two Salt Lake police officers Saturday night while he was allegedly holding a 3-foot object, possibly a mop or broom handle made of light metal. Police say Abdullahi and another man were beating a third person with the object on Rio Grande Street near the homeless shelter.
Two officers ordered them to stop. One man complied and dropped his weapon, according to Salt Lake police. "The other continued to advance on the victim and was shot by officers," police said in a statement. Witnesses said three to four shots were fired, striking Abdullahi in the chest and stomach.
On Tuesday, the teen's cousin, Muslima Waladi, said Abdullahi "went into surgery this morning" to have his stomach stitched up. She said since the shooting, "from his chest to his stomach was cut open" as doctors watched for complications.
"They were just trying to make sure his organs were OK. And they said they would be OK so they sewed him back up," she said.
Abdullahi still has tubes in his throat to breathe and cannot speak, she said.
Monday night, hundreds of protestors gathered at the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building, calling for the city's Police Civilian Review Board members to be elected rather than appointed by the mayor.
Police released no new information about the shooting Tuesday. Investigators were reportedly still looking for the second man who allegedly dropped his metal object when confronted by police Saturday. That man, according to police, ran off after the shooting.
The man who was allegedly being beaten did not require hospitalization, according to Salt Lake police. But a man who claimed to be a roommate of the man who was beaten posted on social media that he believes the actions of the officers saved his friend's life.
"Pretty much there were two 'thugs' beating and robbing a person and the police were in the area and saw what was happening so they took action. Well, the guy who the thugs were beating and robbing is my roommate! First of all those cops that everyone are protesting in downtown SLC saved my friend's life. He has multiple mental disabilities. He lives in a group home with me. He is my friend and I would shake the hand of any officer who helped save him," the 22-year-old man wrote on Facebook.
The Deseret News contacted the mother of the 22-year-old man. She said she believes her son's roommate was the man being beaten prior to the shooting.
Police also arrested four people who allegedly threw rocks and bottles at officers after Abdullahi was shot. Approximately 100 officers from numerous agencies responded to the downtown area to help keep an angry group of people under control.
One of those men, Issa Tirko, was arrested after refusing to put down rocks he was holding, according to a Salt Lake County Jail report. After he was taken into custody, police said they discovered he was also carrying a significant amount of Spice. Tirko was arrested for investigation of rioting, drug possession with intent to distribute, interfering with an arrest and intoxication.