Police say argument about cigarettes led to murder at an SLC 7-Eleven

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Salt Lake City police have identified a 7-Eleven clerk shot to death Sunday morning after an argument about cigarettes, and a man has been booked into jail for murder.

At approximately 1:20 a.m., a man walked into a 7-Eleven, 1157 W. California Avenue. After an argument, the suspect shot and killed 29-year-old Jamie Blalack then fled the scene, according to a press release from Salt Lake City police.

Sgt. Robin Heiden, Salt Lake City Police Department, said that argument began over cigarettes.

“There ended up being some sort of an argument between the two over the buying of the cigarettes and Jamie asked the male to leave the store," Heiden said. "When the male was leaving the store, he fired one round and that hit Jamie, killing Jamie at the scene."

Police arrested 30-year-old Anthony William Cline Sunday afternoon. A statement of probable cause states that Cline, "admitted to firing his gun at the front of the 7-11 from outside the store. Cline stated he was mad at the clerk for refusing to sell him cigarettes."

Anthony Cline mugshot

Documents indicate Cline was booked into jail and faces a charge of homicide. He also had warrants out for various misdemeanors.

Officials said tips from witnesses and those who saw the surveillance images helped lead police to the suspect.

“People were calling in tips," Heiden said. "There were also some witnesses at the scene, and we were working some leads as well. Between those three things we were able to track down Anthony William Cline."

Tarnya Muir is a regular customer at the 7-Eleven, and she said Blalack was always kind.

“He always had a smile on his face, always went that extra mile to make sure you were having a good day," Muir said.

Alicia Ontiveros also frequented the store, and she spoke fondly of the man.

“He asked about my family and he remembered me; it was always nice because he always remembered you,"she said.

Muir said the news hit her hard: “I was devastated. I about collapsed on the floor."

Ontiveros said she is glad a suspect is in custody, but she said she hopes changes can be made regarding the way people treat each other.

“It is scary," she said. "And I just kind of wonder sometimes when we look around our neighborhoods, when do we come together as a community and say enough is enough?"

30 comments

  • Calm down people

    This is truly sad yet we don’t know the full story. It’s never okay to shoot or kill someone yet this was not a robbery or a random shooting. It appears that either the suspect knew the clerk or there was argument between that escalated into this suspect shooting the clerk. This is why he needs to be caught and why we need all the facts before we assume the nature of the crime. This may have had nothing do with him working at 7-11 during the graveyard and may just be the place it took place. This could be a domestic dispute or the clerk could have started and escalated the fight leading to the clerk bring killed. Fights can lead to that and if the clerk had any culpability it’s possible that the clerk is as much if not more at fault. It’s possible based on this story that the clerk during the argument committed several crimes himself leading to another criminal killing him. Let’s not rush to conclusions

    • Mikee

      “It’s possible based on this story that the clerk during the argument committed several crimes himself leading to another criminal killing him”

      THERE IS NOTHING THE CLERK COULD HAVE DONE THAT WARRANTED HIS DEATH. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

      That is the single dumbest comment I’ve ever seen online, and that is not a rush to judgement, that’s a straight up fact.

      • Calm down people

        That is the single dumbest comment I’ve ever seen online, and that is not a rush to judgement, that’s a straight up fact.”

        He refused to sell cigarettes to a 29 year old, argues with him and told him to leave the store. I guess he was just doing his job. That is the cop out a lot of people who instigate fights give. I was just doing my job. What did he think? This man didn’t look like a kid buying cigarettes. He even looks older than 29.

        I’ve worked at gas stations and in retail for a long time. During that time I’ve had rude co-workers and rude managers. Some even going so far as to trespass customers for doing the same thing they would let white customers do. In those cases I wanted to vomit. I can tell you that I would not have argued with him and would have sold him cigarettes instead of being an idiot who thinks a man who looks in his 30’s or 40’s. I will repeat myself:

        “This is why he needs to be caught ”

        I’m not defending what he did instead I am condemning the shooter but if we are going to prevent things like this weekend have to address the causes of things like this including posts like yours which shows a personality disorder.

        He needs to go to prison for his crime and we need to talk about how a 7-11 clerk thinks it’s ever okay to act like this one did because the truth is that had he not acted the way he did over cigarettes the man he instigated a fight with would not have snapped and shot him.

      • sk911

        I was wrong, calm down people. You just made an even dumber comment. Wow.

        That clerk was totally asking for it. Did you see how tight his shirt was? Ridiculous, right? Just like you!

    • John

      You are a fxcking idiot calm down people. He was at his job and was killed senselessly. Where do you work? Does somene have the right to end your life because they feel like it

      • Calm down people

        “You are a fxcking idiot calm down people. He was at his job and was killed senselessly. Where do you work? Does somene have the right to end your life because they feel like it

      • Calm down people

        “You are a fxcking idiot calm down people. He was at his job and was killed senselessly. Where do you work? Does somene have the right to end your life because they feel like it”

        You just proved my point. He wasn’t killed senselessly. He behaved in an inappropriate manner and instigated an argument that led someone else to snap and it was all over a 29 year old wanting to buy cigarettes which is legal. I’ve worked I gas stations and retail for 11 years and was even a manager and I can tell you that I would not have argued with a customer to the point of kicking them out of the store when they are trying to buy cigarettes. I have never argued with any of my customers and have always been able to come to an amicable resolution. There really is no reason a guy who looks to be in his late 30’s to early 40’s should have been ordered out of the store for trying to buy cigarettes. It’s extremely rude and is naturally going to lead those with emotional problems such as yours to do something like this. Your post is as out of it as this shooter was. Tour reaction to what I said so crazy that I’d we had an argument face to face with you may kill me just like this guy did but fortunately for me I wouldn’t let it get to that point with someone as mentally ill ad the shooter and you.

    • Bob

      CALM DOWN PEOPLE – There a lot of possibilities. It is possible that the killer may be charged with a capital murder. That would earn the killer eligibility for the death sentence.

    • sk911

      Wow. That’s a level of victim blaming I’ve never seen before, and I spend quite a bit of time online.

      Congrats, calm down people. You win the stupidest comment on this site award. And that is saying something.

      Also, I accidentally reported your comment when trying to reply, and I’m not sure how to undo it. Sorry.

      • Calm down people

        “Wow. That’s a level of victim blaming I’ve never seen before, and I spend quite a bit of time online.”

        There is a difference in blaming the victim and placing the right amount of culpability with each of the parties. Placing the entire blame on the shooter who is a despicable person for what he did will not get these kinds of things to stop. We need to be asking why someone legally trying to buy cigarettes was forced into snapping over cigarettes. It’s obvious he lost it and many things may have led up to him shooting him but let’s be honest in saying that if the clerk hasn’t started a fight with a customer and escalated it into actually ordering him out of the store no one would be dead now. Had he talked to the man in a respectful manner and discussed how they could have resolved this it wouldn’t have happened. I have never been afraid of a customer going off on me because I have always treated them better than my own family and friends. At worse he should have said I can’t sell you cigarettes now die (for whatever reason) but I will give you a $10 credit if you can come back in with identification etc. There should not have been any orders to leave the store. That is extremely rude over cigarettes.

        “Congrats, calm down people. You win the stupidest comment on this site award. And that is saying something.”

        Proving my point well. If you were a store clerk someone as mentally ill as you would probably shoot you for behaving like that. Don’t say those who see the societal problems caused by thinking like yours didn’t warn you that behaving that way ultimately ends up badly for anyone. You can’t blame a mentally ill person for snapping when another mentally ill person acts like you.

        I don’t think this was the first time this shooter has been treated badly since our society is fond of that so the really sad part of all of this is that people are justifying bad behavior instead of condemning both men for their parts. The clerk for instigating and escalating it to that level and the man who needlessly killed him

      • sk911

        There is a difference in blaming the victim and placing the right amount of culpability with each of the parties. – Yeah, no there isn’t. That is the very definition of victim blaming, you dolt.

        I like how you keep calling everyone “Mentally Ill” as if it’s some sort of insult. That says a lot more about you than any of us.

    • Knows more

      I’m sad to say I know Anthony. In person he looks young. Whoever you are, perhaps it’s time for you to leave commenting to others.

    • shut it down

      It was him doing his job. The cops use people of all ages to do stings on at all times of the night and day. I have worked at 7-11 and they were changing there computers around so that you had to actual scan the bar code on the Id in order to finish the transaction. So yes this clerk refusing to sell cigarettes or even a lighter to some one who does not have a valid id was just doing his job. The shooter not being an adult and carrying his id is not only breaking the law for shooting him buy for also not having it on him.

    • DB

      You are very right. While others will say that your comment is ridiculous it is not. Both men are at fault for their actions. I am family of the shooter and I am struggling to wrap my mind around this and am at a complete loss for words over this because this is not in his character at all. He is not a monster. My heart hurts for everyone involved in this!!

  • smdh

    I have known this lowlife personally for over 10 years and I can tell you he has always been a hothead druggie piece of sh**. Anyone blaming the clerk is an idiot, Anthony deserves whatever horrible punishment he gets and then some.

    • DB

      10 years? So you must know the TRAUMA he has endured as well… if not then you do not know him as well as you think. Anthony is NOT a monster. Yes he has made mistakes but he values life above anything in this life after things our family has endured. Until you have walked in his shoes maybe you should keep your judgemental opinions to yourself.

  • laura cardella

    This is my nephew. He was a very kind soul. I just wish true justice gets done. Over what a 7 dollar pack of smokes. This just isn’t fair. I have lost my family forever and this guy gets to still gets to breathe. God have mercy on him.

    • Calm down people

      I wish your nephew was here to explain his reason for refusing to sell cigarettes to a 29 year old who looks even older and it would also be good if we could ask him why he instigated an argument and escalated that argument to the point of kicking a customer out of the store. This would help a lot in finding a long term solution and preventing tragedies like this from happening on the future.

      I’ve worked in retail for eleven years and was a manage during that time as well. I never kicked a customer out and was always able to reach amicable solutions with people. I never argued once with a customer and certainly wouldn’t have kicked someone out over $7 cigarettes or caused them to snap on me.

      Unfortunately I have seen the opposite from one of my first managers. He kicked a black woman out of the store asking to use the phone once and a while and even called the cops. She was a nice and friendly woman who I enjoyed talking and a few times she used the phone in the past but that day he trespassed her for absolutely no reason. This manager had even allowed other customers to use the phone. I don’t know your nephew or this man. All I know is that he shouldn’t refuse to sell cigarettes to an adult and when called out on refusing to escalate it to kicking someone out of the store. There’s no justifying this man killing him but we need to have a serious discussion about how people behave towards others. May your nephew rest in peace and may this man be punished for what he did. But that aside we need to talk about the abuse of someone over $7 and it driving someone to snap and kill someone once the next time someone drives someone to shoot out over cigarettes a child could be an innocent causality of an unnecessary situation

  • Mr. B

    Wow, calm down people. Can’t you see that Mr. Calm Down is way to deep for us mortals to understand? He is probably in his third year of college, living in his parents basement, making deep observations about human behavior. While you are eating your corn flakes in your underpanties, do you also try and dig out your brain? My, this store clerk surely deserved to be killed by bunman. You know, cigarettes are a right to purchase and if you don’t sell you may kill the clerk. Right, Mr. Calm Down? You really do need to come out into the sunlight once in a while, try to be a human. Mr. Calm Down, is it right for groups like ISIS to line up 50 men and women and execute them for being chrisian? In your mind, yes. Sad and sick, you are a true danger to society. I am sure one day your face will be on the monitors, after killing someone for not selling you a pack of gum.

  • m

    Mr Calm Down people is a typical IDIOT!!! He is blaming the victim for the actions of a criminal, Just like the women who get raped because of they way they dress. If the Employee did something to make the gun man angry he had a choice to walk out or kill the employee. Most people would walk out, contact a manager. I don’t want to even think it would be ok to shoot someone because they made me mad. Mr Calm Down needs to go away and get some counseling.

  • Bob

    CALM DOWN PEOPLE – one reason for not selling smokes to this man would be if the killer didn’t have any money to pay for them. And no, the gunman can’t smoke while in jail either. What a loser.

  • trace

    It’s very odd to me when this story popped up. i know Anthony but have not talked to him since July. there is absolutely no excuse for what he did and honestly he’s not one that i would have thought could be capable of murdering anyone. my sympathies go out to the family of the man that died in this selfless act…Anthony had lost a few jobs and was struggling to make ends meat. it’s still no excuse for what he did or the life he took.. my point is. no matter how bad someone pisses you off, take a step back and think before you act. it could save your life as well as someone elses..many lives will forever be changed for this pointless act of violence. RIP Jamie

  • Matt

    This whole situation is crazy. A man got killed over cigarettes. There is nothing in a C-store worth getting killed over. I would have given the guy a whole carton of the stinking things to avoid getting shot. Maybe he could go smoke himself to death. That’s a nasty habit anyway. Holy smokes! Now the guy that pulled the trigger can have 3 squares a day for the rest of his life at the POM. Maybe, they will put him out of his misery with the firing squad or lethal injection 15 years from now after all of his appeals have run their course. Lose-Lose either way anyone looks at it. Don’t talk to me about rehabilitation.

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