A 17-year old Kenyan teenager is fighting for his life after he was shot four times by a police officer on Saturday night in what authorities described as an altercation in a Mall in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah in the US.
At a press briefing shortly after the incident, Salt Lake City Police Department confirmed that the shooting happened near 210 South Rio Grande Street and that the scene was chaotic, necessitating the deployment of over a hundred police officers.
"There was an altercation taking place and our officers intervened," said Salt Lake City Police detective Greg Wilking on Saturday night.
Mr Wilking confirmed that two officers were involved in the shooting incident but did not release the name of the victim, who was rushed to a nearby hospital.
Selam Mohammad, an eye witness who identified himself as friend to the shooting victim said police arrived at the scene of a confrontation involving the teen and an unidentified person.
"The police said, 'Drop it', once, then they shot him four times," Selam recalled.
He said the police just started firing shots at the teen prompting an angry reaction from bystanders who said they felt the officers did not give the teen, who was reportedly wielding a broomstick, a chance to surrender.
“He wasn't even swinging at anybody and didn't know that the cops were behind him. He barely turned around before they shot him," said Mohammad, who confirmed that his friend is from Kenya.
Earlier, hundreds of people reacted angrily saying there was no justification for the police to open fire.
The standoff caused a heavy traffic snarl up in the busy down town area.
"The people were angry and yelled obscenities at the police," said a reporter with ksl Channel 5, a local television station.
Other witnesses said glass, debris and rocks were thrown at police officers, most of who were in riot gear. Multiple agencies were called in to quell the situation with close to 100 officers arriving at the scene.
"The situation was volatile and almost getting out of hand as the crowd was very angry at the turn of events," said Jeremy Nyaga, who spoke to the Nation on Saturday night.
"The ambulance took too long to arrive and all the while, the officers stood next to the boy who was bleeding profusely. They didn't offer any help," he added.
Although the Police did not immediately release the name of the shooting victim, they said more information would be availed on Sunday. There was no immediate update on the condition of the Kenyan teen.
Police said several people were detained and potential witnesses were being interviewed.
Nation.co.ke will keep updating this story as more information becomes available.