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Murray man accused of murder said he fired after feeling ‘belittled,’ charges say

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SALT LAKE CITY — A Murray man accused of murder said he shot a man after that man “belittled” him, charging documents say.

Siosiua Tonga Ositamani, 24, was charged Friday in 3rd District Court with murder and aggravated robbery, first-degree felonies, and obstructing justice, a second-degree felony.

On Aug. 12, Salt Lake police were called to 50 E. Harrison Ave. where Luis Melendez, Jr., 49, who was carrying a Pennsylvania ID card in his pocket, was found dead in the middle of the street. Police say he was shot in the head.

A witness told investigators he saw two men arguing with a third man on a bicycle.

“The witness got in his car and noticed that the argument between the three men seemed to be escalating,” the charges state, adding that the witness called 911 after seeing a man with dreadlocks shoot a man on a bicycle.

Surveillance video collected from the area shows Melendez was riding his bike when he passed Ositamani and another man, then turned his bike around and stopped to talk to the men, according to the charges.

After a brief conversation, Melendez left, but then came back again on his bicycle.

“The male and Luis are seen pacing back and force in the middle of the road. They eventually stand in the middle of the street when Luis suddenly falls to the ground. The male who shot Luis started to walk away but quickly turned around, bent down, and knelt over the victim’s body for a moment. He then fled the scene,” the charges state.

After receiving an anonymous tip that Ositamani was the shooter, police were able to locate and arrest him.

Ositamani allegedly told investigators that he and a friend had gotten into an argument with Melendez.

“(He) stated he felt ‘belittled’ by the conversation, and he had a gun with him and pulled it out. He stated he then fired the weapon one time at Luis and then left the area. Ositamani also stated he picked up and took the victim’s phone after the shooting and left the area with the phone. He later disposed of the phone in a garbage can,” according to charging documents.