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Michigan Sheriff’s Deputy Fatally Shoots Man After He Stabbed Elderly Customer During Face Mask Dispute

Eaton County Sheriff's Office/Facebook

A man’s refusal to wear a mask at a store in Michigan led to a violent confrontation that ended in his tragic death.

On Tuesday morning, Sean Ernest Ruis, 43, walked into a Quality Dairy store in Windsor Township without wearing a protective face covering and was refused service for violating safety guidelines.

Tuesday was the second day after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed executive order 2020-147 – which stipulates that masks must be worn inside all businesses.

According to MSP Lt. Brian Oleksyk, Ruis was confronted by a 77-year-old male customer who wore a mask.

Ruis – who worked as a transportation technician for the Michigan Department of Transportation since 2008 – allegedly pulled out his knife and stabbed the elderly customer before fleeing the scene in his car.

The elderly man – whose name had not been released – sustained serious injuries from the altercation inside the store but is in stable condition.

The Lansing State Journal reported that an Eaton County deputy located Ruis’s vehicle at approximately 7:13 a.m., a few miles away on Jerryson Drive in Delta Township.

When the deputy made a traffic stop, Ruis got out of his vehicle and approached her with a knife.

After repeatedly yelling at him to drop the weapon, Ruis refused to retreat and continued towards the deputy, forcing her to fire multiple shots at the suspect.

He later died during surgery after being taken to a Lansing area hospital.

WARNING: The footage below is violent in nature.

In a statement that was posted on Facebook, Sheriff Tom Reich said that the preliminary investigation indicated that Ruis “violently attacked” the deputy with a knife and that the deputy “acted in defense of her life.”

Authorities did not release the name of the deputy, however, they did say she was a 22-and-a-half year veteran with the Sheriff’s department.

The Sheriff’s office released the bodycam footage where the deputy can be heard repeatedly yelling, “Drop the weapon!” as Ruis closed in on her.

Additionally, a still image from the footage provided by the Sheriff’s office showed Ruis’s hand was over the top of the deputy’s gun hand.

Eaton County Sheriff’s Office/Facebook

In spite of the fatal outcome, people felt that the deputy’s actions were justified.

The deputy was not physically injured and was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation by state police.

Sheriff Tom Reich believed the deputy feared for her life when she fired the shots.

He said:

“She had to use deadly force, and she did it properly. I’m hoping that she will recover fully and go back to work.”


Written by Koh Mochizuki

Koh Mochizuki is a New York-based actor and writer. Originally hailing from Los Angeles, he received his B.A. in English literature and is fluent in Japanese. Disney parks are his passion, and endless cups of coffee are a necessity. Instagram: kohster Twitter: @kohster1