Man Who Attacked Citizens in an East Liberty Target Store Charged with Attempted Homicide

Shannon Turgeon, News Editor

Pittsburgh Police reported that a 41 year old man who stabbed a girl and injured several others in an East Liberty Target store on Monday is facing attempted homicide charges.

The man, Leon Raymond Walls, is currently in the Allegheny County Jail, according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

The incident began at Highland Avenue and Whitfield Street when Walls cut another man’s face with a kitchen or steak knife and then ran into the store. When Pittsburgh Police officer Ronald Tardivo arrived at the store, he saw multiple people bleeding. One man, Jobe Wright, told the officer that Walls stabbed him in the arm and then headed to the store.

Target store security stated that when Walls came into the store, Wright and two other men chased after him. Witnesses told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that Walls attempted to stab one of the men who followed him, but missed. According to police spokeswoman Diane Richard, he then “ran towards the checkout lanes and grabbed a sixteen year old female who was standing with family members and held her in front of him with knife still in hand.”

Walls attempted to use the girl as a shield from the men chasing him while saying, “You come close, I’ll stab her,” before stabbing her twice in the back.

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported that chaos occurred after the girl was stabbed. The men who followed Walls into the store held him down until police officers arrived, suffering knife wounds in the process. Police then used pepper spray and a Taser to control Walls while arresting him.

The girl who was stabbed was brought to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Ms. Richard stated in a press release that the girl is suffering from a collapsed lung that required surgery. She was listed in critical condition on March 26.

Richard also stated that another man was brought to UPMC Presbyterian for a knife wound on his face, and a bystander was hospitalized for chest pains after the incident. In addition, a police officer was treated for exposure to pepper spray.

Pittsburgh Police Sergeant Tom Huerbin said that Target closed after the incident and will reopen once a contractor cleans the store.