KINGSTON, Mass. - A group of Massachusetts shoppers tackled a man and pinned him to the ground until police arrived after catching him allegedly coughing and spitting on produce, fanning coronavirus fears.
Cell phone video shot from inside a Stop & Shop in Kingston on Saturday showed at least three men on top of the man as in the produce aisle.
“Don’t try and get up,” one of the shoppers tells the man pinned to the floor.
Witnesses told police they spotted the 65-year-old man from Duxbury, whose name was not released by authorities, coughing and spitting on produce.
Kyle Mann, an 18-year-old shopper from Pembroke who recorded the video and posted it on Facebook, said punches were also exchanged between the man and a store employee.
“I had a mask on and I had gloves on, and I was a pretty good distance away so I was not really concerned about my health,” Mann told WFXT in Boston. “But I was concerned about the employees and the customers that were near him.”
Once police arrived, the man was told not to return to the store or face trespassing charges. He was then transported to Beth Israel Deaconess-Plymouth Hospital for an evaluation.
Police do not believe the man has COVID-19 but will have him tested as a precaution, The Patriot Ledger in Quincy reported.
The store contacted the Kingston and Duxbury boards of health to report the incident.
“The customer’s actions were not in accordance with CDC guidelines, which we have been consistently encouraging all shoppers and associates to follow to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus,” a Stop & Shop spokesperson said in a statement to WFXT.
“We have discarded potentially affected product and conducted a deep cleaning and sanitizing of all impacted areas. The Board of Health has inspected the store and affirmed the store is safe for shoppers.”
Kingston police may pursue charges against the unidentified man, including assault and battery, and destruction of property, The Patriot Ledger reported.
“I think it’s horrible,” Mann said. “Especially with a possibility of food scarcity, because there’s so many people buying all the food. So you just waste all this food.”