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'Explosive device' at TRAX station leads to suspect's death


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SALT LAKE CITY — A man shot and killed at the Gallivan Plaza TRAX station Thursday night was carrying an explosive device, police confirmed Friday.

Police identified the suspect as Anthony Mayhew, 39, of West Jordan. He was shot once by an officer and died shortly after.

Mayhew claimed to have a bomb in a backpack he was carrying. Police say he was shot after two hours of negotiations fell apart just before 11 p.m. He started walking toward officers and didn't stop when they told him to and they shot him.

"(Officers) issued repeated commands for him to stop," McGowan said. "He was agitated, and he said he had a bomb. It appeared as though he had a trigger device in his hand, with wires leading to a backpack. All indications were that he was quite dangerous."

When Mayhew went down, the bomb squad sent in a robot to get what he had claimed was a bomb.

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The strength or "explosive capacity" of the device has yet to be determined, Salt Lake City police detective Dennis McGowan said.

"His motives are not clear at this point, and what his mindset was is not clear," the detective said. "We're still trying to piece it all together."

The officer, who was not identified, was placed on administrative leave as is standard in an officer-involved shooting investigation.

A witness, Mark Benson, said, "He basically turned to me and said, ‘I have an explosive,' you know, 'I have a device that is going to explode.'"

The bomb threats started around 9 p.m. directly in front of the KUTV studios at 299 S. Main. The station reported the man called the newsroom and told them he had a detonator and a bomb strapped to his chest.

One witness said at first no one took him seriously.


His motives are not clear at this point, and what his mindset was is not clear. We're still trying to piece it all together.

–- Dennis McGowan, SLCPD


"He had a wire hanging out of his backpack and a trigger on it, but then he tells me not to worry," Benson said. "You know, the guy was not making any sense, babbling. We just walked away and I immediately called 911.

When police arrived at the TRAX station near 250 S. Main, they cleared everyone from the platform. Mayhew claimed his backpack was full of explosives.

Police were negotiating with him until about 10:50 p.m., when he stopped talking with officers.

TRAX service in the area was suspended, but it began running again Friday morning.

"Approximately five minutes later, he started walking toward officers, who commanded him to stop," according to a police report. "Fearing for their lives and given the credible threat of an explosive device, an officer fired one shot, striking the suspect."

McGowan said medical personnell could not attend to the man until the police robots removed the backpack, which were "disrupted" by robots and its contents gathered by police for examination.

It is likely Mayhew died in transit, McGowan said.

Contributing: Ben Wood

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