OREM — The man who shot and killed an alleged carjacker during an altercation on May 2 will not face criminal charges, the Utah County Attorney's Office announced Thursday.
Orem police say the man, whose name has not been released by county prosecutors, shot Taulagi Matafeo once in the chest while trying to prevent Matafeo from taking a woman's car by force at a Macey's grocery store parking lot in Orem.
Matafeo, 26, died at a nearby hospital from his injuries. The woman and the shooter were not injured.
The man who came to the woman's aid "acted within the purview of Utah law, and no criminal charges will be filed," the Utah County Attorneys Office said in a prepared statement.
The 31-year-old man is a concealed weapons permit holder, prosecutors and Orem police have said. He was reportedly making a short grocery stop before going target shooting when he heard a woman in the same parking lot screaming as she was being pulled from her Mercedes SUV by Matafeo.
The shooter told investigators he ran to the woman's aid after hearing her screams.
"According to the citizen’s statement, the suspect starts to walk to the back of the car and lunges at him trying to grab the gun. The citizen shoots one round, shoots the suspect in the chest," Orem Police Capt. Ned Jackson said shortly after the shooting.
Matafeo "was able to grab hold of the civilian’s firearm, at which time the civilian pulled the trigger," the county attorney's office said.
Prosecutors cited Utah law about use of force, which is lawful for the purpose of "prevent(ing) a forcible felony." Matafeo was carrying through with aggravated assault and robbery by taking the car from the woman, the county ruled, meaning the shooter was within his right to fire his gun.
Deadly force is also justified to prevent death or serious injury to oneself or a third person, the attorney's office noted.
Matafeo faced multiple felony warrants for his arrest and he allegedly assaulted a woman and had stolen a pickup truck earlier that day. Police say he later pulled into the Macey's parking lot and attempted to hijack the woman's vehicle before he was confronted by the shooter.
Orem police said earlier this month that it was unlikely the shooter would be criminally charged.
Contributing: Nicole Vowell