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PUBLIC RELATIONS UNIT
June 23, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact Information: PolicePRUnit@slcgov.com
SLCPD Central Bike Squad Arrests Homicide Suspect
SALT LAKE CITY — Today, with the assistance of the Salt Lake City Police Department’s Central Bike Squad, detectives with the SLCPD’s Homicide Squad have arrested 21-year-old Kepueli Penisini.
Detectives booked Penisini into the Salt Lake County Metro Jail on one count of Criminal Homicide by Assault.
This investigation started at 1:51 a.m. on Sunday July 10, 2022 when SLC911 received information about an assault in-progress at 149 West Pierpont Avenue.
SLCPD officers were already in the area and immediately responded. When officers arrived, they found a chaotic scene with more than 100 people on the streets, with more exiting the nearby entertainment venues. Officers identified a large fight and attempted to disperse the crowds.
Officers received assistance from a private security company and Salt Lake County sheriff deputies.
Due to the size and volatility of the crowds, SLCPD requested additional patrol officers respond.
At 2 a.m. on Sunday July 10, officers on scene heard multiple shots being fired in the area.
Officers arrived and located 37-year-old Yusuf Mohammed on the ground, unconscious, with face and head trauma. Officers performed immediate life-saving efforts and paramedics transported Mohammed to the hospital in critical condition where he later died from his injuries.
Officers learned from multiple witnesses that Mohammed was standing in the parking lot when a group of men approached him. Witnesses said a person wearing black clothing punched Mohammed in the face one time without warning or provocation.
The witnesses said the punched caused Mohammed to lose consciousness and fall to the ground.
After allegedly punching Mohammed, Penisini left the area.
SLCPD officers worked quickly to obtain video surveillance footage and later identified Penisini as the person who punched Mohammed.
On Tuesday July 12, 2022, officers with the SLCPD Central Bike Squad located and detained Penisini.
The SLCPD is asking that anyone with information on this case, including people with photos or videos of the events leading up to, during and after to please call 801-799-3000 and reference case number 22-129894.
For several weeks now, the Salt Lake City Police Department has staffed additional patrol shifts around Pierpont Avenue and West Temple as part of a proactive crime reduction approach. The department has met with the owners of several entertainment venues and businesses in the area to help mitigate and to help prevent future violence. Those efforts are ongoing.
“There have been several high-profile incidents occurring at and around the Pierpont entertainment district, but those incidents certainly do not define this important part of our city and its culture. As a police department, we are committed to proactively addressing the concerns along Pierpont Avenue, but it will take more than just extra police officers or security guards, it will require people to stop allowing situations to escalate into potentially dangerous – and now deadly – situations. The best way to keep safe is to avoid the potential for conflicts and to report anything suspicious by calling 9-1-1,” said SLCPD Chief Mike Brown.
This is the seventh homicide in Salt Lake City for 2022.
Charges are only allegations, and every arrested person is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Salt Lake City Police Department is not the custodian of record for jail booking photos. Utah Code 17-22-30 mostly prohibits the release of jail booking photos. Generally, a jail booking photo can only be released by the custodian of record after a conviction or when law enforcement determines the person is a fugitive or an imminent threat to a person or public safety. In Salt Lake City, the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office is the custodian of record for jail booking photos.