SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — A man who shot a South Jordan police officer in November 2021, giving him a potentially fatal injury, will spend seven years to life in prison, according to the Salt Lake County Attorney’s Office.
Malui Salesi Vehikite, who was 29 at the time, was contacted by police over multiple felony warrants and for being a suspect at the time in an active stolen vehicle case. When Vehikite let officers into his home, he shot and injured one of the officers, severing his femoral artery. The shot also shattered the officer’s femur. The wounds could’ve been “potentially fatal had he not received proper and exigent medical treatment,” police wrote in a probable cause statement.
“Mr. Vehikite then ran back upstairs and pointed his gun at another officer, at which point the officer shot him multiple times,” stated SLCA Communications Manager Keith Chalmers.
During the incident, bodycam footage shows Vehikite allegedly pointing a gun and shooting at one officer, and pointing his gun at another officer, who in response fired his weapon at Vehikite, arresting documents show.
Vehikite also had drug paraphernalia and mixed prescribed pills in a prescription bottle not belonging to him. The probable cause statement says that Vehikite’s prior convictions of drug possession and the illegal narcotics found on the scene are “consistent with Vehikite being a drug user and therefore restricted from owning or possessing firearms.”
Vehikite was initially charged with attempted aggravated murder, two counts of aggravated assault, possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, and felony discharge of a firearm.
Today, a judge sentenced Vehikite to five years to life at the Utah State Correctional Facility for first-degree felony discharge of a firearm and 1-15 years for each of the two counts of second-degree assault against a peace officer with a weapon. The sentencing for the three charges will run consecutively.
“Mr. Vehikite not only caused serious injury to one officer, he attempted to shoot a second officer while trying to escape. This office will aggressively prosecute those that seek to harm law enforcement officers that are trying to protect our community,” said Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill. “We appreciate the judge seeing the severity of this case and giving Mr. Vehikite the maximum sentence.”