SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – A suspect has been arrested on Wednesday in connection to the death of a man during a “chaotic scene” involving over 100 people in downtown Salt Lake City over the weekend.
The Salt Lake City Police Department (SLCPD) has identified the suspect as 21-year-old Kepueli Penisini.
Police say Penisini allegedly punched 37-year-old Yusuf Mohammed, leaving him unconscious where he later died at the hospital from his injuries.
SLCPD says this incident marks the seventh homicide in Salt Lake City for 2022.
Police first responded to reports of an in-progress assault on July 10 near the area of 149 West Pierpont Avenue around 1:51 a.m.
When police arrived, they discovered a “chaotic scene with more than 100 people on the streets” and even more people exiting nearby entertainment venues. Police spotted a “large fight and attempted to disperse the crowds” at the time.
About 10 minutes after arriving, police heard multiple gunshots nearby and discovered the victim, Mohammed, unconscious and lying on the floor with face and head trauma.
Eyewitnesses say they saw Mohammed standing in a parking lot when a group of men approached him and Penisini allegedly punched him in the face without provocation.
Witnesses say the punch caused Mohammed to lose consciousness and fall to the ground.
Authorities say after the assault, Penisini fled the area. He was later identified using surveillance footage and was located and arrested on Tuesday by officers with the SLCPD Central Bike Squad.
“There have been several high-profile incidents occurring at and around the Pierpont entertainment district, but those incidents certainly do not define this important part of our city and its culture,” said SLCPD Chief Mike Brown. “As a police department, we are committed to proactively addressing the concerns along Pierpont Avenue, but it will take more than just extra police officers or security guards, it will require people to stop allowing situations to escalate into potentially dangerous – and now deadly – situations. The best way to keep safe is to avoid the potential for conflicts and to report anything suspicious by calling 9-1-1.”
Police are asking anyone with information on this case, including photos or videos of the events leading up to, during or after the incident to call (801) 799-3000 and reference case number 22-129894.