Salt Lake shop owner says he was attacked by homeless woman in front of his store
Jan 30, 2024, 10:20 PM | Updated: Jan 31, 2024, 8:25 am
SALT LAKE CITY — A business owner said he was attacked by a homeless woman outside of his shop Tuesday as he called for a broader solution to ongoing problems downtown.
Scott Evans said he was helping some customers who had purchased a dresser at Euro Treasures Antiques, 470 W. 600 South, when he noticed a woman creating a commotion just down the sidewalk.
That’s when Evans decided to approach the woman and say something.
“I said, ‘Look, you need to go, you can’t be here, you’re on my property, you need to leave’ — at which point she smashed me on the side of the head with a full fist,” Evans told KSL TV. “I stumbled off and she was coming at me, screaming and swearing.”
Evans said a worker was eventually able to separate them and he called the police.
“I am hurt, you know,” Evans said. “My neck is messed up, I have pain in my back, I’m dizzy — it’s not OK.”
According to Salt Lake City Police Department spokesman Brent Weisberg, officers aided by social workers took the woman to detox. He said she was subsequently cited for assault and public intoxication.
The shop owner had talked to KSL TV multiple times previously about homeless problems around his property — from tents on sidewalks, public defecation and open-air drugs to threats of violence and vandalism.
“The city has been working extremely hard and we do appreciate it,” Evans said. “The officers have been doing a fantastic job trying to mitigate the issues that we’ve had over the past two years.”
Still, he was left with questions after the Tuesday afternoon encounter.
“Why are we letting these people who are using these drugs and have lost their minds — why are they running loose on the streets?” Evans asked.
Weisberg said SLCPD has allocated significant manpower toward the issues downtown.
Since mid-October under a downtown safety initiative, he said Salt Lake City police officers had dedicated 12,000 patrol hours and made nearly 5,000 referrals while arresting 168 people. He said of those arrests, 59 were related to felony crimes.
“We have made a concerted effort to make sure we’re being responsive to the needs of our community,” Weisberg said.
Still, Weisberg acknowledged connecting those on the streets with the proper resources was time-consuming and that there was still a need for more shelter beds and treatment programs.
“I don’t know the solution and I know we’re trying,” Evans said. “I’m 69 years old and I’m supposed to come down here and get beat up by some woman?”
Evans said he wished there was a better answer.
“It’s a statewide problem, it’s a federal problem,” Evans said. “We need help.”