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Video released of deadly courtroom shooting

14 March 2018

An attorney for the family said that his clients are glad that the video has been released to the public, but they have not yet decided whether they want to appeal the judge's decision to dismiss their lawsuit.

A video released Monday shows the fatal shooting by a USA marshal of a defendant who rushed a witness stand at a Utah federal courthouse. An oficer out of shot yells "drop the pen".

Angilau family's attorney Robert Sykes argued that the witness was already out of danger by the time shots were fired.

"Angilau intentionally fled the defense table to attack the witness with a pen, and his actions placed the witness, as well as other innocent bystanders just feet away, in harm's way", Dowdell wrote in his ruling.

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As US District Judge Tena Campbell was escorted out of the courtroom, someone called 911 at the end of the released video.

The man jumped back to avoid being hit as Angilau fell feet-first over the front of the witness stand and the unidentified United States marshal fires his gun.

An FBI investigation also found the shooting was justified by law.

"The video completely contradicts the plaintiffs' argument that Angilau stopped posing a danger within less than one second of launching himself over the witness stand while making a stabbing motion with a pen in his hand", said District Judge John Dowdell.

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The Angilau family attorney, Bob Skyes, offers a contradictory point of view. "There was no necessity to use force", Sykes said. "They weren't entitled to use the death penalty on him for an assault".

Angilau, who later died from his wounds, was one of 17 Tongan Crip members indicted in 2010 on charges of assault, conspiracy, robbery and various weapons offenses. Angilau was the last person to be tried, as previous defendants were sentenced to 10 to 30 years behind bars.

Officials at the Department of Justice wanted the video kept under seal over concerns it could lead to retaliatory gang violence.

The Utah Media Coalition fought for a year for Dowdell to release the footage, according to KUTV in Salt Lake City.

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Video released of deadly courtroom shooting