An accused street gang member standing trial in federal court in Salt Lake City has died after being shot by a deputy marshal while attacking a witness who was testifying against him, federal law-enforcement officials said.

Siale Angilau, 25, who was not handcuffed at the time, lunged at the witness with what appeared to be a pen or pencil, prompting federal officers in the courtroom to open fire on the defendant to halt the attack, according to Melodie Rydalch, a spokeswoman for the US Attorney's Office.

The FBI later said Angilau, who was shot in the chest, died at a local hospital.

No one else was injured in the incident, which occurred during the opening day of testimony in the racketeering trial, Rydalch said.

The defendant was wheeled out of the courthouse in a gurney and police taped up the area near the courthouse.

Portia Louder was in the courtroom next door and she said she didn't hear any gun shots, but saw Marshals running through the courtroom.

"We didn't hear anything, just saw Marshals run through the courtroom and they locked everything down," Louder said.

Louder said a Marshal told her that the defendant tried to stab the witness on the stand and a marshal may have shot him.

The identity of the witness attacked by the defendant was not immediately available.

US District Judge Tena Campbell, who was presiding over the case, immediately declared a mistrial, saying in her order that marshals had continued to hold the wounded defendant at gunpoint near the jury box until he was removed from the courtroom.

Angilau was the last of several alleged members and associates of the Tongan Crip Gang to stand trial on federal racketeering and other charges.

About a half dozen co-defendants were convicted in 2011, Rydalch said.

Source: Reuters