Pittsburgh police arrested a man after they say he stabbed three people in an East Liberty Target store Monday evening, including a 16-year-old girl.
According to authorities, the man, identified as 41-year-old Leon Raymond Walls, pulled the knife to defend himself against two people who followed him into the store.
“Once everybody was trying to go after him, he like sliced the one guy’s fingers off and sliced someone’s upper lip off,” said a woman who saw the bloody scene unfold.
Walls then grabbed a 16-year-old girl who was waiting in a checkout line and held her as a human shield, threatening to stab her. He suddenly turned on the girl, stabbing her repeatedly until shoppers jumped on him, subduing Walls.
“I grabbed this bat that was on the ground and started beating him in the legs with this bat as they was taking him on down,” said a witness who did not want to be identified.
The girl was identified as Allison Meadows, a student at Silverdale Baptist Academy in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In a Facebook post the school updated her condition, saying:
“There have been several false reports about the details of the injuries to Allison. Here are the facts: She was stabbed in the arm several times and then in her back, collapsing her lung. Her surgery is to repair the wounds and restore air back to the lung. Her injuries are not life-threatening. Allison’s family has been told by the doctors that she is expected to make a full recovery.”
On Monday she went in for surgery, and on Tuesday morning her condition improved, with the school posting, “We can report that Allison is doing wonderful this morning and is completely off of oxygen now. Praise The Lord!”
According to a criminal complaint, Walls ran into the Target around 5:30 p.m. because he allegedly stabbed a man at a nearby construction site. One of the men tracked Walls into a restroom in the store, but ran out once he saw the knife.
Walls, who used to live in Queens, NY, and Trenton, NJ, is charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, unlawful restraint, simple assault and resisting arrest.