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Utah restaurant owner who sprayed man with fire extinguisher no longer business shareholder

Utah

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SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah restaurant owner who sprayed a smoker in the face with a fire extinguisher Friday announced divestment of his three vegan eateries a few days later.

Alex Jamison, co-founder of Salt Lake’s Monkeywrench, Buds and Boltcutter, posted on each of the restaurants’ Facebook pages Monday, apologizing for his actions and relinquishing his position as a shareholder in the companies.

“You may see me in the businesses helping out with the transition, but we are officially separate entities,” his posts read. “My behavior was unnecessary, and no way to treat another person regardless of circumstance. My business partner and I started this company to promote the message of non-violence towards all beings and I recognize my actions last weekend starkly contradicted that.”

The victim of the incident, Jon Bird, said he was working as a volunteer at a Gallivan Center event Friday evening when he stepped outside to smoke a cigarette. Shortly after, Bird said Jamison came out of a nearby restaurant and told him the area was nonsmoking and asked him to stop.

“(But) we confirmed it with security that we were OK,” Bird said. “We told him we are definitely further than 25 feet from any entrance or ventilated door or window.”

When Bird continued to smoke, Jamison came out of the restaurant with a fire extinguisher and said, “I told you, you can’t be here,” Bird claims. Bird’s girlfriend asked Jamison if he was going to spray the smoker with the fire extinguisher, to which Bird said Jamison replied, “yeah,” then sprayed the extinguisher in his face.

Bird’s girlfriend caught the incident on camera.

“I’m still in shock and awe. I feel dizzy, kind of shaken up that something like this could actually happen,” Bird said.

Bird claims he experienced side effects from the fumes and chemicals in the extinguisher, including shortness of breath and headaches. His girlfriend was also splashed with some of the chemicals, and both went to the hospital the next day for a checkup, he added.

“Who in their right mind puts a fire extinguisher a foot and a half away from someone’s face and just let’s go?” he remarked.

In a statement to KSL Saturday, Jamison apologized, saying, “Well, I’ll say that I’m not proud of my behavior. I let myself get egged on and I overreacted. … I asked him multiple times during the day to please go to the designated smoking area but should not have reacted to feeling disrespected. I certainly owe the other person involved an apology and would like to make it right with him however I need to.”

That same day, Jamison announced divestment of his businesses.

“If you have dined at any of our businesses in the past, thank you for your support and for making a compassionate choice. The world needs more of it. This company was always so much bigger than me, and I have the utmost trust in my incredible business partner and the amazing people working with us,” his posts read.

“The businesses and staff do not deserve the toxic hate, negativity, and threats — they’ve done nothing wrong and should not be punished for my choice.”

Salt Lake City police say they are investigating the incident but declined to comment.

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