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Salt Lake City police Thursday night were investigating why a man apparently slashed and stabbed two strangers outside of a grocery store.

Police Lt. Brian Purvis said about 5:20 p.m., a man in his 30s went into the Smith's Marketplace store at 455 South 500 East and purchased a kitchen knife. He said the man left the store along 600 East and attacked two people, apparently at random, according to witnesses.

He then threatened other bystanders, Purvis said.

He said a man with a concealed carry permit happened to be at the scene, so he drew his pistol, ordered the assailant to stop and held him at gunpoint until officers could arrive.

Purvis said police took the knife-wielding man into custody. He was unharmed.

He said the two stabbing victims — a man in his 30s and a man in his 40s — were taken in critical condition to the hospital, where they remained late Thursday.

Nate Carlisle