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Search continues for violent assault suspect in Payson

Posted at 12:28 PM, Aug 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-15 11:29:13-04

UPDATE: Payson Police have reported the juvenile suspect is in custody

PAYSON, Utah — The search continues into Friday night for a man accused of violently attacking several people, including children, Friday morning in Payson.

It happened in Payson near 500 North and 600 East around 10:30 a.m., when police say the suspect was beating another man with a sledgehammer, hitting him in the head and body.

A woman saw the attack and told the suspect to stop. Police say he then turned his attention to her and began walking toward her home, which also serves as a daycare.

She told FOX 13 that the man punched her and her adult daughter, as well as three young children who were sent to the hospital.

A 13-year-old girl has broken facial bones after the suspect pulled her from the home by her hair and hit her with his fists, according to the daycare owner's husband.

The suspect then fled the area, and police have been searching for him ever since. Police say he is a man with long black hair worn in a bun. He was wearing a black shirt and black shorts. He was possibly accompanied by another male with no shirt and covered with tattoos.

Payson Police released surveillance video footage from a Payson home, seen below, showing the suspect walking past. It was not stated if the video was taken before or after the attacks.

Payson Police release video of sledgehammer attack suspect

Nine-year-old Jenevive Pierre said the man escaped by running in front of her home.

"Right when he ran past, I thought he was like running way from something because he kept looking back,” she said.

An older neighbor saw him, too.

“I was leery of him because he acted like he was on some kind of drugs or something. He was just acting nuts, screaming, ‘Wake up, I know you’re in there,’ just walking down the middle of the street,” said the woman who did not want her name reported.

"The daycare owner stepped out and said, ‘Hey, stop that!’ He turned and jumped the fence and attacked kids, throwing kids and attacked her,” said Darla Pierre, Jenevive’s mother.

"It scares us for sure. It makes you sick that some coward attacks little children like that,” said Parker Rangle, who lives down the street.

The daycare owner said the three children who went to the hospital are back home with their families. Meanwhile, the man hit with a sledgehammer underwent emergency surgery and is in critical condition, according to neighbors.

“We feel safe here, we have felt safe here. I don’t know if that is the case anymore,” said Darla.

Anyone who recognizes the man seen in the video is urged to contact Payson Police, as well as anyone who has more information or surveillance camera footage that may show the suspect or the man he was with.