Man arrested after Escanaba grocery store incident remains hospitalized

ESCANABA — An Escanaba man who was involved in a standoff with police at Elmer’s County Market in Escanaba this weekend remained hospitalized this morning in Marquette where he was being treated for injuries sustained during the incident.

According to Escanaba Public Safety, officers were dispatched to the grocery store at 412 N. Lincoln Road at 10:50 p.m. Friday in response to a man acting strangely. Employees told police, when the man was asked to leave the store, he allegedly threatened them with a knife, explained Capt. Jamie Segorski this morning.

Segorski said the department is seeking several charges against the suspect including felonious assault, aggravated assault, arson, and assaulting/resisting/obstructing a police officer.

Upon arrival of officers Friday night, the man had barricaded himself in a second-story storage area in the back of the store, police stated in a news release. For nearly two hours, the man threw metal shelving, metal brackets, pipes, lumber and many other items at officers.

The man also intentionally damaged a hot water heater, causing a gas leak which he intentionally lit with a lighter and started a fire, said police. Officers immediately put out the fire with an extinguisher.

After the man broke through a wall next to the storage area, he fell about 15 feet through a ceiling into the store’s deli kitchen. He was immediately transported by Rampart Ambulance to OSF HealthCare St. Francis Hospital then later transferred to UP Health System-Marquette, said Segorski.

Shortly after the incident began, people were evacuated from the building, the captain said. One employee was injured by an object that was thrown by the suspect and an officer sustained a minor injury when the man fell through the ceiling.

During the standoff with police, the man reportedly destroyed products and equipment totaling thousands of dollars, according to the news release.

Elmer’s County Market General Manager Rod Stende said this morning the stock room has been cleaned up. Three ceiling tiles and lights were replaced in the deli, which has also been cleaned up and is now open for business.

“I’m glad it wasn’t worse than it was,” Stende said, commenting the fire was small and the remaining damage was minimal. The store’s hot water heater is being repaired today, he noted.

“People were very understanding,” added Stende, explaining the store was closed during the incident and the deli was closed until the repairs were made and everything was wiped down.

No damage estimates were available this morning.