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Retail, Restaurant Employees at Risk of Violence, Employers Say

03 May, 2023 Liz Carey

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Chicago, IL (WorkersCompensation.com) – From Chicago to Las Vegas, employees and managers suffered stabbings at the hands of customers and co-workers this past week.

In Chicago, a Target employee was injured when he tried to stop a shoplifter, officials said.

Chicago police said officers responded to a call of a person with a knife on Saturday morning. When they arrived, they found one of the employees, a 25-year-old man, with a laceration to the arm.

The victim told police he was trying to stop a shoplifter when the suspect pulled a knife from his waistband and swung it at him, then fled on foot. The victim was transported to a nearby hospital and released.

Police said they were able to locate the suspect and arrest him. Roman Butler, 27, was charged with felony aggravated battery and burglary.

Target said, in a statement, that retail employees are increasingly under attack.

“On Saturday morning, one of our team members was assaulted with a knife during an attempted theft at our State Street store in Chicago. We're grateful that this team member's injuries were not life threatening and we appreciate the swift response of the store team and first responders to keep all other guests and team members safe,” the store said in a statement. “As demonstrated by this unfortunate incident, retail crime is an urgent issue that is increasingly impacting the team and guests at Target and other retailers… Our stores create jobs, serve local shoppers, and act as critical hubs in communities across the country, and we will continue to do everything in our power to ensure the safety of our stores and keep our doors open.”

On the same day in Silver Spring, Maryland, a CVS manager was stabbed while chasing a man suspected of robbing his store.

Officials said on Saturday night, a man pulled out a knife in the store and demanded cash from a CVS store employee. The suspect left with an undisclosed amount of cash, police said. As the man was running away, the manager of the store chased him and the suspect stabbed him. Police said the stab wound was non-life threatening and the manager was treated at the scene.

On Sunday, a man in Martinsville, Virginia, was arrested for stabbing a co-worker.

Deputies with the Henry County Sheriff’s Office said officers were called to the El Parral Restaurant for a call for a fight.

Officers said two of the employees, Adrian Cruz and Sipriano Bautista, had gotten into an argument in the kitchen area. When the fight escalated, the two moved outside to the back of the restaurant. As the argument continued, Cruz’s brother, Luis Cruz, joined the fight. At some point, Bautista pulled a knife out and stabbed Luis Cruz in the chest and right arm.

Cruz was taken to SOVAH Health in Martinsville and treated for his injuries. Bautista was arrested and charged with aggravated malicious wounding.

And last week, officials in Las Vegas arrested a man suspected of stabbing a bus company employee.

On Monday, the Las Vegas Police Department said they arrested Xavier Whatley, 40, of attempted murder following an investigation into a stabbed on April 24.

According to court documents, an employee of the Regional Transportation Commission told a group of people waiting for a bus that he would get a bus to pick them up. At that point, Whatley began yelling obscenities at the employee.

When the employee asked Whatley to stop yelling, Whatley pulled out a knife and stabbed the victim once in the upper left chest area then fled the area. Another person at the bus stop called police who made transferred the employee to UMC Trauma in critical condition.

Investigators at the scene said they found a “blood trail,” that led from the bus stop to a gated courtyard. Two officers followed the trail and found Whatley hiding in the bushes in the courtyard. Officers also found a backpack and a scabbard in the area, as well as a laceration on Whatley’s hand that officers determined to be from a cut from a blade. Investigators identified Whatley from surveillance video and arrested him.

After a search warrant was obtained, investigators later found a white t-shirt with blood on it, a black knife sheath, a blue hat, and a bloody knife with a 10-inch blade. Whatley said he didn’t remember what happened and that he wanted his attorney present.

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    About The Author

    • Liz Carey

      Liz Carey has worked as a writer, reporter and editor for nearly 25 years. First, as an investigative reporter for Gannett and later as the Vice President of a local Chamber of Commerce, Carey has covered everything from local government to the statehouse to the aerospace industry. Her work as a reporter, as well as her work in the community, have led her to become an advocate for the working poor, as well as the small business owner.

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