Suspect arrested for allegedly assaulting customers at Lowe’s on River Road

ST. GEORGE — A local man was arrested for allegedly assaulting customers at a home improvement store on River Road early Wednesday evening.

Officers responded to Lowe’s Home Improvement store on River Road on a report that a suspect had assaulted at least two customers inside of the store.

Officers arrived to find a suspect inside the store being detained by customers and were able to identify him as 29-year-old Christopher McGinnis. Upon seeing the officers, he told them to “f— off,” and that he “didn’t care who the officers were,” as was noted in the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest.

McGinnis allegedly resisted the officers but was eventually handcuffed and then had to be carried out of the store.

A video with clips provided by Kendra Cope-Hooper of the arrest can be viewed at the top of this report. 

An officer spoke to one of the men inside of the store who assisted in holding the suspect down until police arrived. The man reported that McGinnis punched him on the side of his face. He told police he was not a victim but agreed to provide a statement.

A second man was interviewed and told officers he was looking at merchandise while standing in one of the isles in the store. As the suspect passed the customer, McGinnis hit them in the face with a 2-inch square pole encased in PVC that served as a shelving divider on one of the store racks.

“There was no provocation for the assault, and Christopher just shouted vulgar statements and comments,” as he struck the customer and then walked away, the report states.

Christopher Lauren McGinnis, 29, of St. George, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Oct. 14, 2020 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

While speaking with officers, McGinnis told them he needed help in getting his medication, but when the officer inquired further on how police could help him accomplish that, he allegedly made a vulgar remark and refused to answer any further questions.

McGinnis was transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility facing resisting a peace officer, disorderly conduct and aggravated assault.

A similar incident involving the suspect was reported on July 25 when multiple units responded to a report of an intoxicated man at a residence off of Summit Ridge Drive in St. George shortly after 10:30 p.m.

While en route, officers received information that McGinnis was attempting to break into the home using a fire extinguisher.

When officers entered an RV garage, they were confronted with the strong odor associated with an extinguisher being deployed. One of the other officers found the resident hiding inside the home who appeared scared.

McGinnis was located inside of the garage but allegedly refused to follow the officers’ commands and was tasered.

Even after the taser was deployed, McGinnis allegedly continued to spit on the officers and yell profanities as he was being handcuffed and tried to bite one of the officers as they were talking him out to the patrol unit.

Before 911 was called, the resident told police they heard loud banging near the garage and then saw the suspect trying to break into the home. Police say McGinnis first used a large block to break through the door, and then the fire extinguisher to punch a hole in it. He then sprayed the room with the fire extinguisher, making it difficult for the tenants inside to breathe.

The reporting party also told police the suspect appeared to be “drunk and high on methamphetamine.”

At the hospital, doctors found blood and spit on one of the officer’s faces, who also told medical staff the suspect spit blood in his eyes.

Meanwhile, the suspect continued to resist the officers and the medical staff while being cleared before transport, and the report also states the suspect smelled strongly of alcohol, his speech was slurred and he appeared to be high on methamphetamine while at the hospital.

Back at the residence, officers found a substantial amount of damage, including items in the garage that were destroyed, as well as damage to the door and from the extinguisher smoke inside the apartment and garage.

McGinnis was transported to jail facing one count of criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, assault on a peace officer, reckless endangerment and two counts of propelling bodily substance on a police officer. He was also booked on three outstanding warrants.

Following Wednesday’s incident, McGinnis is being held without bail.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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