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PAYSON, Utah, Aug. 14, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — The Payson Police Department says multiple people, including children, have been injured by a man who at one point wielded a sledgehammer against his victims, while striking others with his fists.
According to a statement posted on social media, “Payson Police officers were dispatched to a disturbance in the area of 600 E. 500 North. A woman exited her home and witnessed an adult male striking her neighbor about the body and head with a sledgehammer. The woman called out to the suspect to stop.
“The suspect then turned his attention to her, and walked toward her home, which is a daycare facility. The suspect proceeded to strike the children and another adult with his fists, and then fled the area. The male is still at large.
“The children are receiving medical treatment for various injuries. The extent is still unknown, and their parents have been notified.”
Sgt. Noemi Sandoval, Payson Police Department, said at a subsequent news conference that six to seven preschool-aged children suffered superficial injuries, and their parents were with them.
The male neighbor was transported by air to a hospital, then to a second hospital, Sandoval said. His condition was critical, she said.
The suspect is described as an adult male with tattoos and long black hair, which he had in a bun.
“The male was wearing a black shirt and black shorts,”says the PPD statement. “He was possibly accompanied by another white male with no shirt and covered with tattoos.”
Sandoval asked anyone with a surveillance or doorbell camera to check footage for an image of the suspect.
It is unknown whether the suspect was known to the man he beat with a sledgehammer, Sandoval said. The victim is not in condition where he could cooperate with an interview, she said.
“At present, Payson Police asks all residents to shelter in place until further notice,” she said. “Businesses are asked to use their discretion as to whether they choose to shut down.”
Sandoval added that the situation was traumatic for the community.
“And this type of situation is very dynamic, and moves really fast,” she told reporters. “As victims have a chance to catch their breath, we hope to get more information.”
Sandoval said pretty much all law enforcement agencies in Utah County responded to help, as did several agencies from Salt Lake and Juab counties.
“But our biggest help right now, aside from law enforcement, is the public, with the information they are getting to us.”
Gephardt Daily will update this developing story as more information becomes available.