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Payson shelter-in-place order lifted; sledgehammer suspect still at large

Payson police advised residents to stay inside while they responded to a situation near 455 N. 600 E. Friday. Photo: Matt Rascon, KSL TV

PAYSON, Utah — Payson police lifted a shelter-in-place order Friday, hours after what they described as violent assaults involving a sledgehammer near 455 N. 600 E.  However, the suspect is still at large.

Late Friday afternoon, they released surveillance video that they believe shows the suspect on his way to the scene of the initial attack. 

 

At roughly 10:30 a.m., police were called to the a home after a woman witnessed her neighbor across the street being attacked.  

“The woman who runs a day care facility was outside and she witnessed the male suspect hitting her neighbor, who was on the ground at the time, with a sledgehammer,” says Payson Police Sergeant Noemi Sandoval.

The male victim was reportedly hit reportedly in the body and the head.  Sandoval says he had to be flown for emergency medical treatment.  The daycare operator reportedly yelled for the suspect to stop.

Sandoval says, “Once she did that, the suspect then turned his attention towards her.”

Police say the suspect punched and kicked six to seven children and attacked a woman who works at the daycare.  The children were taken to a nearby hospital but officers say non of them had any significant injuries.

Investigators haven’t had a chance to speak with the male victim to see if he knows the suspect.  Workers at the daycare say they’ve never seen him before.  Police are asking anyone else in the area who has a surveillance camera to contact police. 

Sandoval says, “We put out the request for people that live in this area to check their doorbell cameras and any video surveillance they have at their home.”

The man they’re looking for is described as having long black hair in a bun. Police initially said he may be in the company of another person, but now say he is the only suspect. 

People living nearby say they’re stunned something like that would happen in their neighborhood.   Matt Poland lives a couple houses down, and he says he rushed home to be with his family after his wife told him there was a shelter in place order.

He says, “It’s actually really out of the ordinary.  This neighborhood has always been super quiet.  We’ve lived here about a year, and you never hear of anything crazy going on around here.”

Police report there was an attempted carjacking soon after the assaults — with the suspect description matching the sledgehammer case. However, the attempt was unsuccessful so police believe the man is still on foot.