Elderly woman stabbed to death in Duluth supermarket

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A 75-year-old woman has been stabbed to death in an apparently random attack at a supermarket in Duluth.

Police have confirmed that Sally Marie Plonk, of Proctor, died Thursday evening after a stabbing at the Super One store in West Duluth, according to MPR.

A 35-year-old man has been arrested and booked on preliminary second-degree murder charges at the St. Louis County jail, with formal charges expected on Monday.

The suspect is said to have walked into the store with a kitchen knife and stabbed Pionk, before then attempting to attack a store employee. He was then tackled by three other staff members, according to WDIO.

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Super One parent company Miner Inc. released a statement to WDIO, saying: "Words cannot express how profoundly saddened we are that Ms. Pionk lost her life through what appears to be a random act of unprovoked violence while innocently shopping at our store."

The Duluth News Tribune reports that the attack has left the neighborhood "shellshocked." Although the suspect has no criminal history, police say he has had contact with the authorities over "aberrant behavior" and officers expect to uncover mental health issues as the investigation proceeds.

"This incident is particularly difficult because it steals our sense of security," Deputy Police Chief Mike Tusken told the News Tribune. "Every person who lives in that area has been to that store. For people in the western part of the city, that's the epicenter of Duluth."

The employees who tackled the suspect were hailed by Tusken, who told WDIO: "When the assault began, the staff intervened and although their intervention did not save the life of Miss Pionk, it very well may have saved the lives of many others in the store."

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