A man who walked into a convenience store in a suburb of Lansing, Michigan without a mask Tuesday morning allegedly stabbed an elderly man who argued with him about it, a Michigan State Police spokesperson said.
The unmasked man fled the scene and was later shot dead by a Eaton County sheriff’s deputy after allegedly coming toward the deputy with a knife. The stabbing victim is in stable condition at the hospital, police said.
The state police spokesperson, Lt. Brian Oleksyk, told reporters Tuesday that MSP was taking over the investigations of both incidents due to the involvement of the sheriff’s deputy, who he said had 22 years of experience as a cop. The deputy has not yet been identified.
Oleksyk stressed that the investigation of the incident was preliminary.
Around 6:45 a.m. Tuesday, Oleksyk said, a 43-year-old man who wasn’t wearing a mask walked into a Quality Dairy convenience store in Dimondale. The man was refused service and another customer, age 77, allegedly confronted the man about not wearing a mask.
The men got into an argument outside and the man not wearing a mask pulled out a knife and stabbed the elderly man, Oleksyk said. Neither local reports nor Oleksyk have thus far shed much light on the specifics of the argument between the two men.
According to a state police Twitter account, “an argument occurred between the two customers about one customer not wearing a mask inside the store.”
The 77-year-old is in stable condition, Oleksyk said. State police identified the alleged assailant as Sean Ernest Ruis of Grand Ledge, Michigan.
Ruis fled the scene after the stabbing, according to police. When a sheriff’s deputy spotted his vehicle around a half hour later, at 7:13 a.m., the deputy attempted a traffic stop. Oleksyk said Ruis allegedly got out of his car and approached the deputy with the knife.
“The suspect immediately gets out of his car, approaches and attacks the deputy with that knife,” Oleksyk said. The deputy retreated and ordered Ruis to put his knife down, he said.
“At that time, she defends herself from being attacked with that knife, and she shoots that suspect,” Oleksyk said. The alleged stabber was subsequently transferred to the hospital, where he died in surgery.
An employee at the Quality Dairy location where the stabbing took place declined to comment to TPM. The Eaton County Sheriff’s Office also declined to comment, saying that state police were handling the investigation.
“It’s kind of the state of the world that we live in right now, what appears to be a death that was caused over an argument about a mask,” WILX’s Spencer Soicher observed after Oleksyk’s brief press conference.