After Jobe Wright was randomly stabbed on the street by a mentally-ill homeless man, he and 3 friends followed the man inside of a nearby Target store to try and keep tabs on him until police arrived. However, when the men confronted the assailant, 41-year old Leon Wells, he grabbed a 16 year old girl and threatened to stab her. And when they tried to prevent Wells from leaving, he began to stab the girl.
Turner says he and Walls exchanged words. He also says he went into the store with a baseball bat.
“He grabbed a little girl, he didn’t stab her at that point, he was talking, saying … he was trying to get out the store and Jobe told him, ‘You’re not going nowhere ’til the police come,’” said Turner. “And that’s when he started saying, ‘Y’all think I’m playing, y’all think I’m playing. I’m not playing.’ And he stabbed her the first time. Then he stabs her again.”
But now the store is saying if Turner had not gone after Walls with the baseball bat, Allison would not have been stabbed.
“Well, if the guy hadn’t gone on a stabbing spree, we wouldn’t be standing here talking either. So, they’re not looking at that,” said Turner.
The 16 year-old victim’s family is suing Target for failing to keep her safe, but they don’t blame the men:
“We have sued Target because they failed to keep Allison safe. Suing Michael Turner is just Target’s way of trying to blame someone else for what happened under their own roof. The family certainly doesn’t blame Mr. Turner and they are thankful he was there that day.”
One thing I noticed in reading about this case is how different media outlets covered it. In TheRoot.com, the site on which my Google Fu first landed described the same scene with one important difference:
Turner says that when he and his friends confronted Walls, the man grabbed 16-year-old Allison Meadows and threatened to stab her.
“He grabbed a little girl. He didn’t stab her at that point. He was talking, saying … he was trying to get out the store, and Jobe told him, ‘You’re not going nowhere ’til the police come,’ ” Turner told the news station. “And that’s when he started saying, ‘Y’all think I’m playing, y’all think I’m playing. I’m not playing.’ And he stabbed her the first time. Then he stabs her again.”
Turner and his three friends jumped Walls, stopping him from inflicting further damage. The police arrested Walls, who was found guilty but mentally ill. But Turner says that instead of being treated as heroes, all of the men have been named in a lawsuit from Target, which claims that their behavior instigated the stabbing.
“Well, if the guy hadn’t gone on a stabbing spree, we wouldn’t be standing here talking, either. So they’re not looking at that,” Turner told the news station.
No mention of the bat. This obviously paints the men in a much more sympathetic light and simplifies what was a more complex confrontation. The Root is trying to inflame anger from a certain demographic and make the men seem even more unjustly treated by a large corporation.
That being said, I still think the men were justified in confronting the perp with whatever weapon they wished. They had been attacked with a deadly weapon. I find the media manipulation to be an interesting twist however.
This serves as yet another reason to avoid shopping at Target, That is if their blatant disrespect for the Second Amendment and the peoples’ inalienable right to bear tools for self defense were not enough.
addendum: As is so often the case, the most complete reporting was done by UK media, in this case the Daily Mail. Pictures and security camera footage of the incident are included.