Utah February 18, 2017
The Deadly History Of This Utah Place Is Terrifying But True
Recently, Utahns commemorated the 10th anniversary of one of the most horrific crimes in the Beehive State’s history. While Utah luckily has rarely experienced mass shootings, on February 12, 2007, a shooter killed five people and seriously wounded four others.
Trolley Square is a historic shopping mall located at 602 S. 700 E. in Salt Lake City.
Its brick-paved hallways, wrought-iron banisters and impressive archways remind shoppers of its history as the barns for Salt Lake City’s trolley cars going back to the early 1900s.
On the evening of February 12, 2007, Trolley Square transformed from a warm, friendly place into a place filled with horror.
18-year-old Sulejman Talović arrived at the mall around 6:40 pm. He entered the parking garage and encountered Jeffrey Walker and his 16-year-old son Alan. Talović shot both men, but Alan was able to run down a stairway to help.
Jeffrey Walker was killed.
Once inside the mall, Talović started shooting immediately.
He hit Shaun Munns right inside the entrance. Mr. Munns was hit, but managed to escape. Talović encountered Vanessa Quinn and shot her twice, killing her. He proceeded into a store called Cabin Fever, where he shot Carolyn Tuft, Stacy Hanson, Kirsten Hinckley, Brad Frantz and Teresa Ellis. Stacy Hanson and Carolyn Tuft survived their injuries; the others did not.
Luckily, off-duty police officer Kenneth Hammond was at Trolley Square dining with his wife when the shooting occurred
While Talović was aiming at restaurant employees and others, Hammond identified himself as an officer and exchanged gunfire with him. This distraction likely saved the lives of several people who were in Talović’s crosshairs. Sergeant Andrew Oblad arrived and assisted officer Hammond in distracting Talović while the SWAT team got into place. When he shot at the SWAT team, officers shot back, killing him.
The Salt Lake City community was stunned. Violence of this sort seldom happens in the Beehive State, and the loss of five Utahns in such a violent manner was almost too much to bear.
A vigil was held at the Salt Lake City Library, and the community rallied around the surviving victims and the family members of the deceased.
The five officers who stopped this unthinkable tragedy were honored in a ceremony on February 16th. Those officers were Kenneth Hammond of the Ogden City Police Department, and Sergeant Andrew Oblad, Sergeant Joshua Scharman, Detective Dustin Marshall, and Detective Brett Olsen of the Salt Lake City Police Department. These men certainly saved many lives with their brave service that horrible day.
Sulejman Talović’s motives were never discovered. His family was shocked that he had committed such a horrific act; and police ruled out terrorism as a motive. Since he was killed that day, we’ll never know what prompted Talović to commit the murder of five people and injury of another four.
10 years after the mass shooting, Trolley Square is finally recovering.
The shopping mall struggled for several years. A new buyer purchased the mall in 2013, and many new stores have arrived since then. While some stores, such as Pottery Barn and The Old Spaghetti Factory managed to stay afloat during the tough times, new additions such as Whole Foods and The Falls Event Center have contributed to a rebirth for this community shopping space with a historic past.
Do you remember this terrible tragedy? Share your thoughts with us.
In the 1970s, the infamous serial killer Ted Bundy murdered seven Utah women. Read the article here.