Hardware store employees 'acted lawfully' in confrontation where suspected shoplifter later died, store owners say

Hardware store employees 'acted lawfully' in confrontation where suspected shoplifter later died, store owners say

(Andrew Adams, KSL TV)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Ace Hardware representatives believe their employees “acted lawfully” during a confrontation last week in which a suspected shoplifter later died.

The altercation took place about 7 p.m. Thursday outside the store at 612 E. 400 South in Salt Lake City.

Store employees saw a man, later identified by police as Mischa Ryan Cox, conceal merchandise and walk out of the store without paying, according to a statement from Ace Hardware owners released through an attorney.

Employees also saw the man “threaten them as well as bystanders with a stolen pry bar,” the statement reads.

Salt Lake police say two employees from the store confronted Cox after they saw him walk out. A struggle ensued, and two bystanders also joined in, according to police.

The group was able to get Cox on the ground, but when police arrived, he was unresponsive. He was later taken to a hospital in critical condition.

Police announced Tuesday that Cox, 30, had passed away.

They have not released further details about how Cox died. It remains unclear if Cox was unresponsive after the argument due to injuries he received or an unrelated medical condition.

Officers at the scene placed Cox in handcuffs at some point during the incident, according to police. Due to that, the confrontation is being investigated as an officer-involved critical incident.

Unified Police Department is handling that investigation.

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