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What happened at Target? Police say man fired gun after assault

Winston-Salem police are looking for three men they said beat a man inside the store on Hanes Mall Boulevard, who fired a gun to get the alleged attackers off him.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Winston-Salem police are looking for three men they said beat and robbed a man inside the Target on Hanes Mall Boulevard Tuesday night. During the incident, a gun was fired inside the store. 

It all started just after 8:30 p.m. Police said they were able to quickly and safely get everyone out of the store and no one was shot.

But there was a violent encounter that led to an hours-long investigation, officials said.

Dozens of officers on the scene didn't find anyone hurt, but based on damage to the back of the store, police said they knew a gun was fired.

Through their investigation, they found the victim, a 25-year-old man, at a nearby hospital. He told police he was beaten inside Target by three men. He said he was hit in the face and head and that's when he fired his gun, to try to get the suspects off him.

The victim told police the three men then took his gun and left. Police believe the suspects took off in a white hatchback-style car with a possibly Ohio license plate.

Police said the victim's injuries were minor and he was left the hospital.

WFMY News 2's Jenna Kurzyna spoke with the victim. He did not want to go on camera but his injuries were visible. He had cuts on his face, swelling, and a black eye. He also said he did not know the suspects. 

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The store has since reopened. The parking lot was a much different scene on Wednesday after the incident. Shoppers shared that they knew about the incident but do not want to live in fear.

"A little close to home, but it seems to be happening anywhere at any time, Winston-Salem resident Courtney Miller said. "I mean 8:30 at night is what I heard and I was a little hesitant to come in today, but I don't want to let that deter me.”

“When I saw all the people going into Target I was less afraid, maybe that shouldn't have been the way I felt, but that is the way I felt," shopper Dinah Ferguson said.

WFMY News 2 reached out to Target. Brian Harper-Tibaldo, a spokesperson with Target, sent the following statement:

"On Tuesday evening, there was an altercation between three people inside our Hanes Mall store, during which a weapon was fired, though no one was struck. Our team immediately evacuated the store and the Winston-Salem Police Department quickly responded. The store has since reopened and we're assisting law enforcement with their investigation. At this time, we'll refer additional questions to police."

The investigation is being handled by the WSPD Gun Crime Reduction Unit.

Anyone with any information regarding this investigation is asked to call the Winston-Salem Police Department at 336-773-7700, Crime Stoppers at 336-727-2800, or En Espanol 336-728-3904. 

You can also view “Crime Stoppers of Winston-Salem Forsyth County” on Facebook. A Crime Stoppers Tip Form can also be located online at https://www.cityofws.org/FormCenter/Police-Department-19/Crimestoppers-Tip-Form-100. Information provided to Crime Stoppers may be provided anonymously.

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