CEDAR CITY (ABC4 News) – Authorities contemplated shutting down a Walmart in Cedar City and an Ohio man is behind bars after police say he threatened to kill all employees at the store.
Police arrested Owen David Cox, 24, of Saint Marys, Ohio, on suspicion of making a threat of terrorism, a second-degree felony.
Cedar City Police Sgt. Clint Pollock said staff at Walmart told police a man was walking outside of the store screaming and acting erratically Thursday afternoon. The noise caught the attention of the manager, who came outside to make sure everyone was alright, police records show.
The manager called 911 after he overheard the suspect yelling that he wanted to kill all the employees. Cox allegedly fled the store before officers arrived, but police say he was spotted returning to the store several times.
Detectives responded to the store multiple times throughout the night, but they said the suspect was already gone each time. Eventually, investigators tracked him down near Walmart Friday afternoon, placing him into custody.
“His mother reached out to us providing us some information that he does have some mental health issues, so that’s probably a big part of this incident,” Pollock said. “There’s some mental health issues that haven’t been appropriately taken care of.”
Sgt. Pollock said Cox allegedly told arresting officers he was suicidal. Police took him to a local hospital, where he was reportedly swearing and yelling at hospital staff. After being repeatedly told to stop, officers also charged him disorderly conduct, according to police records.
The incident comes just four weeks after Cedar City Police arrested a local man who allegedly threatened to kill polygamists and responding officers before committing “suicide by cop” at a local grocery store.
Cedar City Police tell ABC4 News it’s difficult to decipher what’s a credible threat of violence, so they’ll thoroughly investigate each one. But officers say they’ll pay special attention when suspects provide details of what the potential crime: the time, place, and specifics of what they plan to do. In this arrest, the suspect returned to the Walmart several times.
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