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Man holed up inside Rite Aid pharmacy surrenders to police


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SALT LAKE CITY — A man involved in a two-hour standoff with police inside a Fairpark area drug store was taken into custody Wednesday.

Police were initially called to the Rite Aid store at 150 N. 900 West just after 2 p.m. on a possible robbery in progress. After officers arrived, they learned that a man was inside the store carrying a container of liquid with a rag hanging out of the top. Police described the man, 48, as despondent.

At some point, the man climbed behind the counter at the pharmacy, said Salt Lake Police Sgt. Josh Ashdown. He did not know what the man said to the people inside, but all of the store employees and customers were allowed to leave the building.

Fire crews and a SWAT team were also called to the scene as a precaution.

The man's son also came to the scene, Ashdown said, and he believes he might have received a call from his father.

A friend of the man told KSL News depression may have led to desperation in this case. "He works for a friend of mine, and he had a bad day I guess," said the woman, who did not want to be identified.

About 4:15 p.m., the man was taken into police custody. He was taken out of the store in handcuffs and placed on a stretcher. Officers said he was transported to a hospital for treatment.

After the man was taken into custody, officers discovered that the liquid in the container was gasoline. Witnesses said the man had purchased the gas just before entering the store.

"I'm not sure what his actual motive was," Ashdown said.

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Written by Pat Reavy and Hunter Schwarz with contributions from Sandra Yi.

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Pat Reavy
    Hunter Schwarz

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