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Friday, April 16, 1999 Published at 01:24 GMT 02:24 UK


World: Americas

Fatal shootout at Mormon library

Police marksmen surround the building

Two people have been killed and another four injured after a gunman ran amok in the Mormon Family History Library near the church's headquarters in Salt Lake City.

The gunman, reported to have a local address, fired at seven people before police shot him dead.


[ image: A victim is hurried to safety]
A victim is hurried to safety
The dead gunman's body was being held in an ambulance near to the scene as police investigated the possibility that he was wired with explosives.

Salt Lake City's Mayor Deedee Corradini told reporters that a library security guard and a female library patron had died of their wounds.

Police teams have been combing the building investigating rumours that a second gunman was inside the genealogical library two hours after shooting began.

Gunman traps 20

Around 20 people were trapped inside the library while the shooting began, according to local radio stations.


[ image: The Mormon Temple: Across the road from library]
The Mormon Temple: Across the road from library
Police say 95 young children were on a tour of the library while it was surrounded by security forces and ambulances. None of the children were injured.

According to a tourist at the scene of the shooting, the gunman appeared to be relaxed, passing by some people he could easily have shot.

"We heard a pop and somebody said `Everybody get down'," said Jaqueline Nelson, a researcher who was working on the first floor.

"There were 10 or 12 pops and somebody yelled 'Somebody's shooting'."

Shots were still being fired up to 45 minutes after officers arrived on the scene, leading police to believe there might be a second gunman.

Mormon records

The Mormon religion, or Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints', has been involved in genealogy since its founding nearly 170 years ago.

The church keeps records for what it calls the baptism of the dead.

The Family History library is the largest genealogical library in the world and, according to a church Website, it contains more than 2 million rolls of microfilm, copies of census and other records from more than 100 countries.

Mormons believe that the baptisms give the dead the opportunity to join the Mormon church in the afterlife.



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