Target's security questioned after violent parking lot attack

Target blamed after customer attack

DALLAS – Attorneys for the Artistic Director of Firehouse Theater in Dallas say they want answers from Target about their security protocol. Their request comes days after Derek Whitener was violently beaten by a couple of unidentified men in a Target parking lot.

Whitener’s family released photos of his injuries on Wednesday morning. His head is covered with stitches after emergency brain surgery. The attack left his skull fractured. Lawyers say the savage beating Whitener suffered also left him unable to speak. The injuries are affecting his motor functions.

Attorney Christopher Hamilton said, ”I don’t understand how Derek could have been attacked like this in the parking lot, how they could have even gotten near him.”

Hamilton says he is demanding answers from Target and its handling of Whitener’s complaint to security, on January 14, regarding a couple of suspicious men in the parking lot.

Dallas police released surveillance images of the suspects who they believe attacked Whitener after he alerted store staff.

“He asked Target for help,” Hamilton said. “Instead of giving the help that Derek needed, the help that any customer would need, Target turned Derek into a target.”

Hamilton is learning at least one other witness reported the unidentified men to Target’s workers that night. Police say a security guard and off-duty officer asked the suspects to leave the property. The men came back, allegedly wearing a gorilla mask. Investigators say they followed Whitener to his car and savagely beat him with a wooden rod.

Hamilton asked, “Where’s the security when this attack happens? Was Target more concerned with protecting its property? Or more concerned with protecting customers?”

Police released surveillance photos, on Tuesday, hoping they could help lead detectives to the suspects who beat Whitener outside the Target on the 2400 block of Haskell Avenue. Investigators say the attack happened around 11:05 on January 14, 2017.

The crime has some neighbors questioning safety and security in the area.

“I come often and this makes me so scared,” said Geeta Rawat as she pushed her daughter in a stroller toward the big box store.

According to Dallas Police data, the strip center where Target is located has seen its fair share of crimes. Over the past six months, police have responded to a few assault calls, robberies, car break ins and thefts. Neighborhoods a few streets over have been getting hit pretty hard with similar crimes and burglaries.

Target workers say the safety and security of their guests and team members is top of mind. They say their thoughts are with Whitener as he recovers.

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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