At least 8 injured, including children, in Utah attack; shelter-in-place order issued
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PAYSON, Utah (KSL.com) — Police are asking Payson residents to shelter in place after they say a man attacked someone with a sledgehammer and then attacked a group of others, including children, with his fists Friday morning.
In all, two adults and six or seven children suffered various injuries in the attack, said Payson Police Sgt. Noemi Sandoval. She said a man who was attacked with the sledgehammer was believed to be in critical condition and was flown to a hospital.
The children, described as “preschool age,” were not attacked by the sledgehammer but suffered “superficial injuries” from the incident, she added. KSL.com reports they were taken by ambulance to a hospital, and police didn’t know the extent of the children’s injuries.
Officers were still combing through the area searching for the alleged attacker Friday afternoon.
Police were informed of the attack after responding to a report of a disturbance in the area of 600 East and 500 North about 10:30 a.m., according to Sandoval. A woman reported to officers that she saw a man striking her neighbor, another man, with a sledgehammer in the head.
She observed that her neighbor was on the ground and there was another adult male standing over him, hitting on his body and head,” Sandoval said.
The woman, whose home is in a daycare facility, yelled at the man to stop. The man dropped the sledgehammer and then went toward the woman and the daycare facility. That’s when the man “began striking” multiple children and another adult at the daycare, Sandoval continued.
Police weren’t sure how long the man was at the facility but said he fled before officers arrived. It wasn’t known which direction the man fled.
Police did not release the name or age of the man who was attacked with the sledgehammer. He was transferred to another hospital after being flown by medical helicopeter from the scene, Sandoval said. The parents of the children were notified of the incident, officials added.
All residents of Payson were being advised to shelter in place, the police department said in a Facebook post just before 11:40 a.m. Police said they are looking for a white man with long black hair that was kept in a bun. He was seen wearing a black shirt and black shorts, they added. He also may be accompanied by another white man who wasn’t wearing a shirt and was “covered with tattoos.”
Investigators remained on scene Friday afternoon trying to piece together what happened. Sandoval said police don’t know if the two men knew each other prior to the attack, but they do know that the people at the daycare did not recognize the assailant.
“His acts of violence toward them and the children is just unfathomable, really,” Sandoval said.
Multiple police agencies, including the Utah County Sheriff’s Office and Utah Highway Patrol, responded to the area Friday afternoon to assist in searching for the man. Utah Valley Dispatch officials said the shelter-in-place order was in effect for a 10-mile radius from 455 N. 600 East.
Payson police also asked residents with surveillance video cameras near the area of 500 North and 600 East to review their footage to see if they captured images of the two men they are searching for. Anyone with information is encouraged to call Utah Valley Dispatch at 801-794-3970.
This is developing news. We’re working on gathering more information and will update this story shortly.
Contributing: Graham Dudley, KSL.com; Paul Nelson, KSL NewsRadio