LOCAL NEWS

State prosecutors want teen accused in shooting near Hunter High to be tried as adult

Jan 19, 2022, 8:32 PM | Updated: 8:41 pm

Family of a Hunter High teen killed in a shooting last week is sharing how they’re feeling, after state prosecutors announced Wednesday they want the 14-year-old boy accused of shooting and killing 14-year-old Tivani Lopati and 15-year-old Paul Tahi to be tried as an adult.

The teen appeared virtually in Third District Juvenile Court Wednesday afternoon before Judge Mark W. May.

The hearing lasted less than 10 minutes, as state prosecutors told Judge May they are not ready to file charges quite yet. The goal is to have that probable cause statement ready early next week, which could give insight into what prosecutors think unfolded that led to the shooting near Hunter High School during the school’s lunch period.

15-year-old Ephraim Asiata was injured, and continues to fight for his recovery.

Prosecutors did indicate to the judge that they plan to seek transferring the suspect teen’s case to adult court, so that he can be tried as an adult.

The teen will stay in juvenile detention. At the very end of the hearing, he spoke up, appearing to get emotional as he told the judge, “Your honor, I just want you to know I’m a good kid, I really am.” He began to say, “I just…” before Judge May cut him off.

Jake Fitisemanu, the family spokesperson for Tivani’s Lopati and Maumau families, explained what they were thinking after the court hearing.

“The family is relieved that the justice system is working,” he said. “The wheels of justice are rolling, and there is a sense of relief there.”

A memorial on 4100 South in between the north and southbound lanes of Mountain View Corridor has grown to stretch the entire section of street. Cars are constantly parked along the sidewalk, as groups of people stop by to visit. Banners with messages for Paul, Tivani, and Ephraim line the fence.

“It’s still a very emotional time and the family does express a very deep sense of gratitude to everyone who has really demonstrated and expressed so much love and support,” Fitisemanu said.

Another hearing is set in a week as the families, in their grief, turn to searching for justice.

Fitisemanu explained that the family shared they want to provide the space for everyone involved in the case, and let the process move forward unimpeded. The family does not condone or endorse retaliation or anyone taking the justice system into their own hands, he said.

“The family understands that the community is grieving, that there are feelings of anger,” Fitisemanu said. “And really, we want to make sure that everyone knows in the community that the family supports the justice system, and wants to see that go through.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Firefighters are still monitoring the Flatline Fire that broke out Sunday afternoon as concerns ab...
Karah Backin, KSL TV

The ‘Flatline Fire’ hints at a concerning wildfire season for Utah

Firefighters are still monitoring the Flatline Fire that broke out Sunday afternoon as concerns about the upcoming wildfire season grow.
13 hours ago
(Salt Lake County Search and Rescue)...
Eliza Pace, KSL TV

Hiker stranded by rising river rescued safely in Little Cottonwood Canyon

A stranded hiker was rescued safely Sunday evening in the third Search and Rescue mission this weekend. 
13 hours ago
...
Casey Scott, KSL TV

Spring Up with Casey: A beautiful morning from Chopper 5

It's time to Spring Up with Casey Scott, who started off our Monday with beauty shots from Chopper 5 as the sun gets ready to rise.
13 hours ago
FILE: This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Pre...
Josh Ellis, KSL TV

Salt Lake Co. Health Dept. announces two ‘probable’ monkeypox cases

According to the Salt Lake County Health Department, two Salt Lake County adults from the same household are considered probable monkeypox cases based on preliminary testing.
13 hours ago
Crews cleaning up after the shed and barn fire in Provo. (Credit: Provo Fire & Rescue)...
Michael Houck, KSL TV

One horse and kitten killed in Provo barn fire

Fire crews responded to a barn and shed fire in southwest Provo Saturday evening with a kitten and a horse as the sole victims.
2 days ago
Flowers left for the 17-year-old victim....
Kiersten Nunez, KSL TV

Springville community mourning after two fatal shootings in one week

Tragedy strikes the small city of Springville again as police are investigating a second shooting in a matter of days after the apparent murder-suicide of a 17-year-old girl and her ex-boyfriend.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Make Money Online Easily...

4 Ways that You Can Make Money Online Easily in Just a Few Clicks

Here are 4 ways that you can make money online easily in no time at all! Some are as simple as just a few clicks away.
tips to winterize your home...
Bonneville Digital SLC

Tips to Winterize Your Home | The Top 5 Ways You Can Prepare for the Cold Utah Winter Ahead

Before the snow hits, here are the top 5 tips to winterize your home to prepare for the cold Utah winter this year.
State prosecutors want teen accused in shooting near Hunter High to be tried as adult