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Suspect killed in deputy-involved shooting after mask fight was an MDOT employee

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Posted at 10:55 AM, Jul 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-14 21:30:19-04

DIAMONDALE AND DELTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WYSM) — One man has died following an incident that began at a Quality Dairy located at 7120 Lansing Road in Dimondale around 6:45 a.m. Tuesday.

Michigan State Police said a masked man from Lansing, 77, and an unmasked man from Grand Ledge, Sean Ruis, 43, got into an altercation regarding wearing masks.

Police said the customer, Ruis, who was not wearing a mask was refused service by the store.

MSP said Ruis pulled out a knife and stabbed the 77-year-old Lansing man and then fled the scene from in a car.

Police said a deputy with the Eaton County Sheriff’s Department located the suspect vehicle and conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle on Jerryson Drive in Delta Township around 7:13 a.m.

MSP said Ruis immediately exited the vehicle and walked toward the deputy with a knife “in hand to attack the deputy.”

The Eaton County Sheriff’s Office said during a press conference that the attacker had a screwdriver and two knives in his hands.

Police said the deputy, a 22-year veteran, attempted to increase distance by backing up and “subsequently shot and injured” Ruis who was taken to the hospital and died during surgery.

MSP said the deputy wasn’t injured.

“She [the deputy] had to use deadly force, and she did it properly,” Sheriff Tom Reich said. “I’m glad she wasn’t hurt or harmed in any way mentally.”

WARNING: This surveillance video contains graphic content of the shooting:

WARNING: This body-cam video contains graphic content of the shooting:

A witness told Fox 47 he saw a female deputy chase Ruis when he stopped and got out of his car. The witness said the deputy yelled at Ruis and then he heard gunshots.

The stabbing victim, the 77-year-old man, was also taken to a local hospital for his injuries and police say he is alive, however, Quality Dairy CEO Ken Martin told Fox 47 in a phone interview that he is in critical condition.

Police were also at the Quality Dairy, where the store was blocked off with police tape Tuesday.

Martin said no employees were injured in the incident and said the store will still comply with the mask order for customers.

“We’re just asking for all parties, regardless of what side of the mask issue you’re on, for civility. Give (the employees) a break,” Martin said.

Aaron Jenkins, MDOT spokesperson, confirmed to Fox 47 that Ruis was a transportation technician at MDOT and has been working there since 2008. Jenkins said Ruis was expected to come to work Tuesday.

The Eaton County Sheriff’s Office said Ruis didn’t have any kind of criminal history in the county.

Both incidents remain under investigation.

Reich emphasized the importance of wearing a mask even though it upsets some people.

“We all have to be safe,” Reich said. “We all have to do our part so this doesn’t spread. You know we’re trying to stop this pandemic, and the only way of doing it is by wearing a mask – so wear a mask. Let’s get through this together, and hopefully someday we’ll be back to normal.”

He said this is the first major incident involving masks in Eaton County, but did not have a comment about whether people are overreacting to Whitmer's mandate.

Watch this afternoon's news conference on the incidents