SALT LAKE CITY — Investigators arrested a gang member Tuesday in connection with a killing that took place outside a Salt Lake convenience store in April.
Salt Lake police said Vilisoni Angilau, 20, was arrested without incident about 7 p.m. at his place of employment in West Jordan. He was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of murder and obstruction of justice.
Police say Angilau shot and killed 19-year-old Sione Fakatoufifita on April 13 outside a Maverik store at 1680 S. Redwood Road.
Investigators say the two men were members of rival gangs. Angilau and other members of the Tongan Crip Gang pursued Fakataufifita, who was part of the rival Baby Regulator Gang, through the Glendale area before finding him at the store, shooting him multiple times and leaving him for dead at the scene, said Salt Lake police detective Cody Lougy.
“The motive is unclear at this time, but it looks like both individuals — the suspect and the victim — were rival gang members,” he said.
Angilau fled the scene of the shooting and "disposed of evidence used in the homicide" in a nearby Jordan River surplus canal, a Salt Lake County Jail report states.
Several people have come forward with information since the shooting, including those who picked Angilau up at the store and helped him flee the scene, the report states.
Another witness told police Angilau confided in him about his alleged involvement.
“Homicide investigators have been working relentlessly on this case,” Lougy said. “These cases are very challenging when they’re gang involved."
Lougy said witnesses in gang-related cases are often difficult to find and talk to.
“There’s a silence, a secrecy they don’t want to disclose,” he said. “They don’t want to be a snitch. … All the witnesses in this case that have provided information, they’ve stepped up. They’ve done the right thing.”
A search of court records indicates that three separate criminal cases were filed against Angilau last year with the allegations ranging from burglary, a second-degree felony, to interfering with an arrest, a class B misdemeanor, and disorderly conduct and intoxication, class C misdemeanors. One case was closed earlier this year after Angilau violated his probation and spent 30 days in jail.
He is set to go to trial in another case on Aug. 14.