DETROIT (AP) – A Michigan sheriffâ€™s deputy on Tuesday fatally shot a man suspected of stabbing another man who had challenged him about not wearing a mask at a store, police said.
The shooting occurred in Eaton County, southwest of Lansing, about 30 minutes after the stabbing at a Quality Dairy store, state police Lt. Brian Oleksyk said.
A sheriff’s deputy spotted the man’s vehicle in a residential neighborhood and shot him when he got out of his car and tried to attack her, Oleksyk said.
â€œDrop the weapon! Drop the weapon!â€ the officer, a 22-year veteran, demanded, according to neighborhood security video released by police.
The man, Sean Ruis, was holding a screwdriver and knives, Eaton County Sheriff Tom Reich said.
â€œItâ€™s very unfortunate she had to use her weapon, but she had to save her life,â€ Reich said. â€œShe had to use deadly force. She did it properly.â€
Ruis, 43, of Grand Ledge, who worked at the Michigan Department of Transportation, died at a hospital. He was suspected of stabbing a 77-year-old man inside the store when he was confronted about not wearing a mask, Oleksyk said.
The stabbing victim was in stable condition at a hospital. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has ordered people to wear masks in stores to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus.
â€œThe goal here is to be safe. We all have to do our part so this doesnâ€™t spread,â€ Reich said.
The decision about whether to wear a mask in public for some has become a political statement, and there have been other violent encounters. In May, a security guard at a Family Dollar store in Flint was fatally shot after denying entry to a customer without a mask.
Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, a Republican, said masks are important. But he also urged the general public not to confront people over a lack of a mask.
â€œThere is no reason to risk your health or your life over the debate of wearing masks in public,â€ Shirkey said.
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