MILLCREEK — A man who police say attacked an employee inside a Starbucks was shot in the chest by another customer Thursday.
Benjamin S. Overall, 37, of Salt Lake City, was then hit by officers with a Taser as he ran from the coffee shop. He was taken to a local hospital in critical condition. Doctors later upgraded him to "satisfactory," according to Unified police.
The wild series of events began about 6:10 a.m. when three Unified police officers were called to a 7-Eleven at 904 E. 3900 South on a report of a man who was being verbally aggressive with the store clerk and causing problems, said Unified detective Ken Hansen.
The officers found the man in the parking lot and approached him to talk to him. That's when the man took off running, Hansen said.
The man sprinted to the Starbucks across the street, 3898 S. 900 East, ran inside, and then went behind the counter where he began assaulting a woman, he said.
That woman, Shelby Hamilton, 24, told the Deseret News the attack seemed random.
"Like, I didn't really know him, and he didn't really say anything. He just came in the door and … hit me in the back of the head from behind," Hamilton said. "I was the first one he saw."
At first, he punched her in the head.
Then, he stopped and asked her, "Do you know who I am?" she said
"I said, 'No, I don't know who you are.' And it made him very upset, and he started to continue to hit me with his fists," Hamilton said.
As she tried to get away, Hamilton said the man grabbed a metal basket and hit her on the side of the head with it. She got onto the ground in the fetal position, and he "stomped on" her back and continued to hit her with the basket, she said.
While her impulse was to get away, she says her coworkers froze during the attack.
"They were all just kind of stammering around. And once I got down to the ground I think is when they ran out the door asking for help," Hamilton said.
But the man finally threw the basket and left, Hamilton recalled.
She then heard her coworkers yelling outside, followed by the sound of a gunshot.
A customer — believed to be in his late 60s to early 70s, according to police — is a regular patron at the store and knows the clerk. He saw what was happening and started moving toward the attacker, the detective said.
Details about whether anything was said, whether the alleged attacker was still holding a weapon, or what caused his attention to be diverted were not immediately known. But Hansen said as the man started moving toward the customer — who has a concealed weapons permit — the customer fired one round, striking the man in the chest.
As the injured man ran out of the store, the Unified officers who were at the 7-Eleven were just arriving. An officer deployed his Taser on the man to stop him, Hansen said. That's when they discovered he had also been shot.
The concealed weapons holder was being interviewed Thursday by police. Hansen said evidence will be collected and turned over to the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office to determine if any charges are warranted.
Thursday afternoon, Hamilton said she was "pretty banged up," with a black eye, swelling on the right side of her face, cuts on the back of her head and bruising.
Of the "regular" customer who shot the man, Hamilton said, "He's always been very sweet. He's always been very patient."24 comments on this story
"And so I was surprised, but also very grateful that he was there. And I'm glad it's somebody that we see regularly so that hopefully in the future I can thank him."
Overall was convicted of intoxication in May in Salt Lake Justice Court, according to court records. In that incident, he attempted to go into a hotel room that was not his, according to a police affidavit. Overall "could not stand or walk on his own (and) stated that he had drank too much," according to the affidavit.
Contributing: Liesl Nielson