Arrest Made in 2023 Salt Lake City Homicide Case Involving 22-Year-Old Victim

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A 23-year-old man was arrested by the Salt Lake City Police Department in connection to the tragic shooting that resulted in the death of 22-year-old Halapaini Moala in 2023, as reported by authorities.

The suspect, Molitoni Vainuku, was taken into custody and booked into the Salt Lake County Metro Jail on charges of murder, according to the SLCPD statement.

The apprehension of Vainuku followed information received by detectives from the Gang Unit in West Valley City. Collaborating with the Violent Criminal Apprehension Team and SWAT, the authorities acted swiftly due to concerns about the suspect’s potential access to firearms.

A thorough investigation by SLCPD commenced after officers responded to calls about the shooting on West Market Street, where Moala was found in a critical condition and tragically passed away at the scene.

In a bid to neutralize the escalating violence linked to the case, SLCPD launched various crime suppression patrols and initiated a criminal probe into the nightclub associated with the incident.

Police Chief Mike Brown expressed satisfaction with the arrest, emphasizing the positive impact it would have on public safety within the community. He highlighted the fear of retaliation that had gripped the community and expressed hope that such fears would diminish in the aftermath of the arrest.

The significance of this arrest was underscored as a crucial milestone by law enforcement, affirming their dedication to upholding justice and ensuring the safety of residents in Salt Lake City.