A shopping trip to Target turned into a nightmare for East Liberty, Pa., residents on Monday afternoon when a man holding a knife was chased into the superstore, stabbing three men and a teenage customer in the process.
The suspect, whose identity is unknown, ran into the store after fighting with several men down the street in an effort to lose his attackers, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.
Police spokeswoman Diane Richard said upon entering the store the man ran to checkout lanes were he grabbed a 16-year-old customer standing with her family, using her as a human shield against his attackers.
The teen suffered a cut on her back and arm. She was listed in critical condition at Children’s Hospital, but has since been upgraded to serious condition. Pittsburgh Police Sgt. Thomas Huerbin said the teen underwent surgery for stab wounds.
Dominique Gomez, 21, of Wilkinsburg, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the man was yelling that he had been robbed while wielding what she described as a “big kitchen knife.”
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“After he grabbed the [girl] he was screaming ‘They tried to rob me. They have my wallet.’ It looked like he was holding her hostage. He had seen the men coming after him with a bat and he grabbed the woman. They were trying to get to him,” Gomez said.
Police said that two other in-store victims were injured by the man; one had chased him. A man was cut on the lip, and the other was treated for deep cuts on his fingers. Another customer was treated after suffering chest pains following the stabbings.
A fourth victim was also stabbed outside the store on Penn Avenue, TribLive reported on Tuesday.
“This guy obviously had no regard for anybody," said Chris Jones, 44. "By the time I got in the store the guy with a knife was getting his butt beat with a bat and fists.
“It was pretty scary hearing girls screaming … Everybody was freaking out, hiding behind shelves, trying to stay out of the way.”
Police brought the man into custody Monday night after using pepper spray and tasers to subdue him.
Police confirmed that the man was assaulted before the Target stabbings, reports said.