- Associated Press - Thursday, May 26, 2016

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The retailer Target announced Thursday amid a civil trial that it has settled several lawsuits stemming from the stabbing of a 16-year-old girl inside one of its stores.

The trial had opened Wednesday as a combination of three lawsuits stemming from the March 2013 attack by a homeless man that wounded Allison Meadows at a Target store in Pittsburgh’s East Liberty neighborhood.

“The parties have reached a mutually agreeable, confidential settlement in this matter. We extend our sympathies to Ms. Meadows and wish her well,” Target spokeswoman Erika Winkels said in an emailed statement.

Attorneys said the incident began when Leon Walls, the homeless man, stabbed Jobe Wright a few blocks from the store while Wright was talking with Michael Turner and Roland Smith. Walls ran into the store, where the three of them along with another man confronted Walls.

Walls grabbed Meadows by the hair during the attack and dragged her away from her family before stabbing her in the torso and arm, authorities said. Walls then used her as a shield as others tried to stop him, cutting several of them in the process. Meadows, now 19, has recovered.

Walls was convicted in the rampage and was sentenced to 10 to 20 years behind bars.

The family’s attorney, Lisa Circeo, had argued Target put “profits over protection” by not spending money to protect its customers.

Target sued Walls along with the three men hailed as heroes for rescuing Meadows, saying they created the situation by bringing a “street” dispute into the store.

“We’re contending their actions created this situation,” said Tom Birris, an attorney representing Target, told a jury Wednesday. “They had an opportunity to call 911, but they didn’t.”

Smith and Wright had countersued the Minneapolis-based Target Corp., arguing they were hurt in the melee at the store as they tried to stop Walls. Turner didn’t file a lawsuit and represented himself at trial.

“I’m sorry I got involved in this matter,” Turner told the jury Wednesday. “And another thing, I’m not suing nobody. I did a good deed, and I walked away from it.”

Attorneys for the other parties couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Thursday on the settlement.

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