A 16-year-old girl who was repeatedly stabbed in a Pittsburgh Target by a homeless man is recovering, sources familiar with the situation said Wednesday.
Allison Meadows, who attends Silverdale Baptist Academy in Chattanooga, Tenn., is expected to fully recover from a collapsed lung and other wounds, the school said on its website.
She was grabbed by Leon Raymond Walls, 41, Monday and stabbed, along with two men who were chasing him, as she stood in the checkout lanes with her family, police spokeswoman Diane Richard said Tuesday.
Police said Walls ran into the store wielding a knife about 5:30 p.m. Monday after he stabbed a man named Jobe Wright at a nearby construction site. Along with friends Michael Turner, Tyrique Walker, and Roland Smith, who grabbed a baseball bat, Wright followed Walls to the nearby Target. Walker dialed 911 to alert police to the situation.
Walls at first headed toward the restrooms in the back of the store in the East Liberty neighborhood and at least two men entered the store searching for him, police said.
"Walls saw Walker and attempted to stab him with a large swing at his neck area," according to the criminal complaint. "Walls, missing his target, then moved towards the checkout area at the Target store where he began trying to stab additional victims who were in the store. Walls then grabbed Allison Meadows and held her against her will at knifepoint in one of the checkout lanes to use her as a shield.
"Victims Hosea Davis, Mike Turner, Jobe Wright and Roland Smith attempted to subdue Walls and to free Meadows when they saw him [stab] the knife into Meadows' back," it adds.
One witness, Hosea Davis, recounted the scene for Channel 4 Action News:
I went back up the top of the steps, and he had this girl by the top of her hair. He just kept screaming, "I'll stab her again!" He kept stabbing her. Me and like four or five other guys, they ran and tackled him. He cut the one guy's lip almost off. The other guy's finger was, like, hanging off.
Using a nearby baseball bat, Davis and a handful of shoppers were able to beat and subdue Walls until police arrived.
"That little girl, he just kept stabbing her. I just couldn't stand there and watch that. You can't stand there and watch that," Davis said. "It was crazy in there. That was horrible. That was something you don't want to see again, ever."
“I had to jump in because I couldn’t hear her screaming, the screaming…it just got the best of me,” he added.
Police said one of the men will need surgery to repair an injury to his face; the other man was treated for a hand injury and released.
A police officer was taken to a hospital to be treated for pepper spray exposure. A bystander who helped subdue Walls complained of chest pains and also was taken to a hospital, where he was listed in stable condition.
"After hearing the actual details of the attack, only God could have saved her life," Meadows' school's Facebook post said.
"Our job now should be to pray for the Meadows family and Allison, show our love and support, and be there for them should they need us. Praise God that this little girl was being watched over and she we will be back home soon."
Watch KDKA.com’s report on the bizarre story:
Walls was in custody Tuesday. He was unable to post $250,000 bond, court records show.
He also has a rap sheet about a mile long [via the Pittsburgh Post Gazette]:
He served a sentence for voluntary manslaughter and robbery at Mule Creek State Prison between July 1991 and June 1999, according to Bill Sessa, spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Court records show that Walls and another man were initially charged with murdering Hilda Blackburn and robbing her and a man named Louis Roldan. The murder charge was later downgraded.
While Walls was in prison, he was charged with battery, Mr. Sessa said.
When he was arrested in Pittsburgh, Walls was wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service on a probation violation stemming from an assault in Washington, D.C. Walls was charged with simple assault after he jumped on a man at a homeless shelter on Aug. 4, 2011, began to strike him with his fist and then bit him on the head, according to a police report.
There is no attorney representing Walls, court documents show.
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The Associated Press contributed to this story.