The house I was born into in Salt Lake City was located across the street from what is now a stylish, maze-like mall called Trolley Square — what back then was a dilapidated trolley barn. The house itself is gone, too; while far from a paradise, it indeed was replaced by a parking lot. Forty-four years ago, I was out delivering Valentines when I witnessed Mrs. Egan, who lived across the street from us, get hit by a car speeding along Seventh East, in front of Trolley Square. Years later, as a teenager, my best friend Ellis and I used to regularly play pinball at the arcade there. In 1996, I met Elliott Murphy when he performed at the Wooden Dog (before it relocated to Park City), the beginning of a relationship that continues to this day. I enjoyed many a dinner with my folks at Rodizio Grill. My friends Larry and Lou and Steve and Marv and I used to regularly escape from work for lunch at Desert Edge Brewery. And in 2005, I took my dad to see the amazing Grizzly Man at Trolley Square, the only time we’ve ever attended a movie together alone. Deb and I went to the mall, too, during one of our last visits to Salt Lake.
On Monday evening at Trolley Square, dressed in a tan trenchcoat and carrying a shotgun and a .38 and a backpack laden with ammo, Sulejman TaloviÄ‡, an eighteen-year-old Bosnian refugee, killed five innocent people and wounded four others. A quick-thinking off-duty cop quelled any further shootings and police ultimately shot TaloviÄ‡ to death. The story, despite the Bosnian twist, is a familiar one: “Although he was a loner and withdrawn,” according to today’s Salt Lake Tribune, “Sulejman TaloviÄ‡ seemed normal and ‘nice’ to the few people who knew him.”
I didn’t know him, but all of my aforementioned memories, good or bad, now forever take a backseat to the crimes of Sulejman TaloviÄ‡.