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Suspected shoplifter in critical condition after altercation at SLC hardware store

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Salt Lake City police say a suspected shoplifter is now in critical but stable condition at an area hospital.

Investigators say the man was detained by employees and witnesses outside the ACE Hardware near 600 East and 400 South Thursday night.

Police say the suspect suffered injuries that caused him not to breathe. 

ABC4’s Jason Nguyen spoke with the store manager who says he says he hopes the man will be ok and he is sorry that this whole thing had to happen.

It all started when an employee with the ACE Hardware spotted a man putting items inside his clothing according to initial reports. 
The manager tells ABC4 NEWS the employee tried to confront the suspect but he ran outside. 
That’s when the manager said the suspect bumped into another employee and an altercation occurred.

Police said two witnesses then got involved and detained the man until they arrived shortly after 7 p.m.

“We would always encourage folks to call us and let us deal with that. Obviously, stores have the right to protect their property,” said Detective Michael Ruff. 

Once officers were on the scene Det. Ruff said they realized he was unresponsive and immediately started CPR. 

The man was taken to the hospital in a critical unstable condition. 

Because officers put handcuffs on the suspect an Officer-Involved Critical Incident investigation was launched. 

“When someone is in custody and there is that injury that could cause a fatality or serious injury, we are going to invoke that. So we are being cautious in invoking that, but as of right now we don’t believe any force was used by our officers,” the detective added.

If the man dies, a homicide investigation will begin, which means the employees, witnesses, and possibly the officers could face charges. 

Unified Police Department detectives are investigating the case.

We’ll bring you the latest developments as soon as they are available.

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