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Clerk severely beaten with rock during smoke shop robbery

(South Jordan Police Department)

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SOUTH JORDAN — A clerk suffered multiple facial fractures, a broken jaw and head injuries after police say he was beaten with a rock during a robbery.

South Jordan police released photos taken from surveillance video of the incident on Thursday. Within hours of releasing the clear pictures, officer Sam Winkler said detectives were flooded with tips all pointing to the same suspect.

But Thursday afternoon, Cole Covington, 20, of Saratoga Springs, was arrested and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of aggravated assault. Police were still looking for Gage King, the man believed to have assaulted the clerk with the rock, and a third man that remained unidentified.

The assault happened Monday when three men walked into the Smoke Spot, 1074 W. South Jordan Parkway (10400 South), about 12:35 p.m.

The trio forced a 33-year-old employee to the back of the store and proceeded to beat him with an object that appeared to be a rock or a chunk of a cinder block, according to South Jordan police. The incident was captured on surveillance video in the back room.

"One of the male suspects used a rock and struck the employee several times, causing multiple fractures to his face, head and jaw," Winkler said.

After the assault, the clerk, whose name was not released, was able to call 911, Winkler said. He was taken to a local hospital to undergo surgery and remained hospitalized Thursday.

The robbers took an undisclosed amount of cash from the store. Winkler said Thursday that investigators were unsure why the robbery turned into such a violent beating.

South Jordan Police Department

All three were described as white men in their 20s. King had dark hair, a thin goatee, a mustache and a large tattoo on his right arm, according to police. He was last seen wearing a red, white and blue tank top, blue jeans, black shoes and a baseball hat.

The unidentified man had dark hair and a full beard and was last seen wearing a grey beanie with white stripes, a black shirt and tan pants.

Covington's Facebook page says he took "marijuana studies" at American Fork High School and has several other references to marijuana on his page.

Anyone with information about the violent robbery is asked to call police at 801-840-4000

Contributing: Shara Park



Pat Reavy


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