Dallas Police

One Suspect in Custody, Second Sought in Dallas Target Attack: Police

Dallas police say a suspect is in custody in the beating outside a Target store in Dallas that injured a well-known local theater director and actor.

Derek Whitener, 33, was beaten with a wooden rod by two men just before 11 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 14, outside the Target store on the 2400 block of North Haskell Avenue, Dallas police say.

He was transported to Baylor Medical Center Dallas where he underwent surgery for a fractured skull. He was released from the hospital on Saturday, Jan. 28.

Police said two young men were responsible in the attack, and on Friday said one of them is in custody. Police did not immediately release further information about the arrest, including the suspect's identity.

Police said they continue to search for the second person involved. He is described as a black man between the ages of 18 and 20, standing about 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighing about 150 pounds. He was last seen wearing a black hoodie with white lettering, red/blue jeans, white Nike shoes, black backpack, and a gorilla mask.

While police have not confirmed the motive in the beating, they said Tuesday that Whitener, a well-known actor in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, was initially confronted by two men as he walked toward the store but that the men walked away when he went to the entrance.

Once inside the store, police said Whitener reported the men as "suspicious" to Target personnel.

As a Target security guard and an off-duty Dallas police officer approached the two men, one of them walked away. The second man, shown in surveillance video holding a wooden rod, had a brief discussion with the off-duty police officer and was asked to leave the property.

A benefit concert at Theatre 3 in Uptown Dallas Tuesday night will honor actor Derek Whitener and help raise money for his medical bills.

Whitener wrapped up his shopping and left the store at about 11:05 p.m. As he walked toward his vehicle, police said he was again approached by the two men. This time they made a threatening statement and began beating him with the stick before running from the parking lot.

A customer in the parking lot reported the incident to the off-duty officer who then called for medical help.

Police said there is no indication this is a hate crime, but they did not disclose what the men said before beating Whitener.

Anyone with information that could help police is asked to call the assaults unit at 214-671-3639 or Crime Stoppers at 214-373-TIPS (8477). Crime Stoppers is offering a reward up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.

Contact Us