US Marshal Stops Defendant from Attacking Witness in Utah Court

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-04_b69f82f27d.jpgmoodboard/Thinkstock (SALT LAKE CITY) -- Shots were fired inside a brand new federal courthouse in Salt Lake City Monday that opened only a week ago. The FBI said a defendant in a trial involving a gang called the Tongan Crips tried to attack the witness who was testifying against him. "The defendant may have grabbed a pen or a pencil and charged the witness stand at that time with an instrument," said FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Mark Dressen.

That's when a U.S. Marshal opened fire -- in front of the jury -- hitting the defendant in the chest.

"I believe he was shot in the chest multiple times," Dressen said.

The judge immediately called a mistrial, reporting jurors were visibly shaken, and the assailant was taken to a nearby hospital, where he later died.

"The Marshals did an exceptional job. They stopped the threat to the witness," Dressen said.

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