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Man attacked unsuspecting motorist pumping gas, police say

Published: Thursday, Dec. 27 2012 8:24 p.m. MST

SOUTH SALT LAKE — Police have arrested a man who they say attacked an unsuspecting man at random while he was pumping gas and tried to stab him.

Josh Ama, 25, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of attempted murder.

Witnesses told police Ama appeared to be under the influence of something when he started yelling at a 35-year-old man who was filling up his car with gas at Maverik, 514 W. 3900 South, just after 10 p.m. Monday.

"He was yelling at the motorist, 'I'm going to kill you,' approached the victim and hit him with a closed fist," said South Salt Lake police detective Gary Keller. "He punched him without warning."

Ama then pulled out a knife and began slashing at the man, Keller said.

"He was slashing and stabbing at the victim, and continued to yell he was going to kill him," he said.

The man's 9-year-old son, who was in the car, witnessed the attack. Police said the boy was visibly upset as he spoke to officers, saying he thought the attacker was going to kill his father.

Other witnesses at the gas station yelled at Ama and began to approach him when he ran off. The victim suffered several slash wounds to his hands and a small puncture wound to his chest.

An officer located Ama a short distance away, near 600 W. 3850 South, and arrested him without further incident.

Ama is a restricted person, not permitted to possess a weapon.

In January, Ama was charged with disarming a police officer, assaulting a police officer, interfering with an arrest, intoxication and two other charges. Prosecutors say Ama was able to grab an officer's utility belt and take it off him. During his last hearing in November on that case, the court was informed that Ama was being screened for Drug Court. Another hearing was set in January.

In 2010, he was convicted of assault by a prisoner, according to Utah state court records.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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