Innocent bystander dies a month after being repeatedly stabbed over face masks

Oliver O'Connell
·3-min read
MSP Lansing Troopers and Eaton County Sheriff's Department deputies respond to Quality Dairy store in Windsor, Eaton County on 14 July for a 911 call about a stabbing incident: Michigan State Police
MSP Lansing Troopers and Eaton County Sheriff's Department deputies respond to Quality Dairy store in Windsor, Eaton County on 14 July for a 911 call about a stabbing incident: Michigan State Police

A Michigan man who was repeatedly stabbed in the neck during a dispute over masks that he was not part of, has died almost a month after the attack.

John Duncan III was stabbed on 14 July in a Quality Dairy store in Windsor, Michigan, by a man who refused to wear a face mask to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The Lansing State Journal reports his son as confirming that he died on Saturday.

The incident happened at approximatley 6.45am when a store employee confronted Sean Ruis of Grand Ledge about not wearing a mask in the store.

Only two days before, a mandate from Governor Gretchen Whitmer that masks must be worn in all businesses had gone into effect.

Initial reports said that Mr Duncan, who was wearing a mask, and Mr Ruis had a confrontation over masks, but Quality Dairy representatives clarified later in a Facebook post that Mr Duncan was an “innocent bystander”.

“The assailant had been asked by a staff member to wear a mask in the store and he refused,” according to the Quality Dairy statement. “He then attacked the other gentleman. At no point did the injured gentleman address the assailant in any way. Contrary to some reporting, the injured man did not confront the assailant, follow him outside or even speak to him.”

Mr Ruis stabbed Mr Duncan in the neck a number of times and threatened both employees and customers present in the store.

One employee locked herself in her car and called 911. Mr Ruis left the store and drove away.

Approximately thirty minutes later an Eaton County Sheriff's Department deputy had the assailant pull over in Delta Township.

Mr Ruis got out of his vehicle and approached the deputy holding two knives and a screwdriver, according to Michigan State Police.

Bodycam footage shows the weapons, which the officer ordered him to drop.

As he came closer to the deputy he tried to grab her gun and she fired multiple rounds at him.

Mr Ruis died later that day during surgery. An investigation into the death by the Michigan State Police is pending.

Governor Whitmer lamented the politicisation of mask-wearing when she addressed the stabbing of Mr Duncan in a news conference.

“I cannot ever pretend that I understand someone who would become murderous over wearing a piece of cloth on your face, but what I can say is that violence is never the solution,” she said.

Read more

Barber who defied Michigan coronavirus shutdown can continue

Michigan threatens to sue companies if Trump fails to wear mask

Trump cheered by supporters as he says they don't have to wear masks

Masks reduce severity of coronavirus symptoms in wearer, experts say

Do face masks stop the spread of coronavirus?