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Bosnia's Ambassador Shocked Over Mall Shootings

Bosnia's Ambassador Shocked Over Mall Shootings



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Joining immigrants at a cafe, Bosnia's U.S. ambassador said Thursday her country was shocked that a Bosnian-born teenager killed five people at a mall in a country that has granted "our freedom, our prosperity."

Ambassador Bisera Turkovic, a full mink pelt around her shoulders, appeared at a cafe where Mayor Rocky Anderson and the police chief assured Bosnian immigrants that authorities would not stand for any threats against them.

There are estimated to be as many as 10,000 people from the Balkans, many of them war refugees and some Muslim, who have made Utah their home.

Turkovic said her country was saddened by a rampage without apparent motive that ended when police fatally shot Sulejman Talovic, 18. He and his family emigrated to Utah as war refugees in 1998.

"They can't believe that somebody of Bosnian origin can do something like this," Turkovic, on a two-day visit from Washington, D.C., said at a Bosnian-American restaurant.

"We owe this country much for our freedom, our prosperity," she said. "So for this to happen to people who are welcoming to us is shocking."

Anderson condemned commentators "who in blogs, emails and phone calls have been so incredibly hateful and misinformed -- these fact-free people who see that a Muslim was involved and jump at such unjustified, outrageous conclusions."

Bosnian-Americans, packed around a pool table and a half-dozen tables in a back room of the Bosna restaurant, said none in their community had been subject to any direct threats.

Police Chief Chris Burbank said investigators still haven't been able to determine a motive for the shooting spree by Talovic, who was armed with a .38-caliber pistol, a shotgun, a bandolier of shotgun shells and backpack full of ammunition.

Talovic shot nine people, five fatally, at the Trolley Square mall Monday night before he was stopped by police.

Salt Lake City police released the names of four officers who confronted the killer: Sgts. Andy Oblad and Josh Scharman, and detectives Dustin Marshall and Brett Olsen.

They will be honored by the Utah Legislature and Gov. Jon Huntsman on Friday, along with Ogden Officer Ken Hammond, who was off-duty and eating dinner at the mall.

He is credited with preventing Talovic from killing more people before other officers arrived.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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