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Mask Dispute Leaves Michigan Man Dead One Day After Gretchen Whitmer’s Mandatory Mask Order Went Into Effect

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Andrew Kerr Investigative Reporter
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A Michigan man who was refused service at a store in Lansing on Tuesday morning for not wearing a mask stabbed a 77-year-old man who had confronted him over his lack of face covering.

Sean Eric Ruis, 43, was pulled over by police after he had fled the scene after stabbing the elderly man over the mask dispute, police said. He was shot by a deputy after he approached the officer with a knife, police said.

Ruis, who was a long-time employee of the Michigan Department of Transportation, died during surgery at a hospital on Tuesday, The Detroit News reported.

The elderly man who was stabbed by Ruis is in stable condition, the outlet added. (RELATED: Security Guard Charged With Murder For Allegedly Shooting Customer Who Wasn’t Wearing A Mask)

The deadly mask confrontation came one day after Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s expanded order requiring people to wear face masks in all indoor public places went into effect Monday morning.

Whitmer’s order requires businesses to refuse service to customers who refuse to wear a face mask. Willful violators of her order could be subjected to a $500 criminal penalty, and businesses that don’t require masks could have their business license temporarily suspended.

“By wearing masks, we can save lives and protect our family, friends, and neighbors from the spread of COVID-19. And by wearing masks now, we can put our state in a stronger position so our kids can return to school safely in the fall,” Whitmer said Friday in a statement announcing the order. “For the sake of your loved ones, let’s all mask up, Michigan.”

The order strengthens Whitmer’s previous mask order issued in late April, which did not impose any criminal penalties on willful violators.

Whitmer’s office did not return a request for comment.

LAKE ORION, MI - MARCH 22: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at an event where General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra announced a $300 million investment in the GM Orion Assembly Plant plant for electric and self-driving vehicles at the Orion Assembly Plant on March 22, 2019 in Lake Orion, Michigan. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

The incident Tuesday marks the second deadly mask dispute in Michigan since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

A security guard at a Family Dollar in Flint was shot in the head in May after telling a customer to wear a mask. The guard later died in the hospital.

Three family members have been charged with first-degree premeditated murder in the killing of the guard, CNN reported.

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