PITTSBURGH — A 16-year-old Tennessee girl who police say was used as a shield and stabbed by a homeless man in a Pittsburgh Target store was released from the hospital Thursday morning.
Allison Meadows of Chattanooga suffered a collapsed lung and other wounds in Monday's stabbing, but doctors expect her to fully recover. She was discharged from UPMC Children's Hospital.
Meadows told local media outlets that the experience was "crazy and traumatic" and that she doesn't remember much of what happened after she was grabbed from behind and stabbed.
"It's definitely taken a toll on me, but I'm doing well," said Meadows, who was on spring break and visiting Pittsburgh when the attack occurred.
"It's just been a very mind-blowing experience," her father, Glen Meadows, said. "We're really grateful that God spared her life."
The family travels to Pittsburgh every few months to visit Allison's 3-year-old nephew Cooper, who underwent a triple organ transplant last year. She ended up at the same hospital where Cooper had been treated.
Police say they're still trying to determine why 41-year-old Leon Raymond Walls stabbed Meadows, who had no connection to him. Walls ran into the store wielding a knife at about 5:30 p.m. Monday after a fight with other men nearby, authorities said.
Walls at first headed toward the restrooms in the back of the store, and at least two men, one carrying a baseball bat, entered the store searching for him, police said. The girl was standing in a checkout lane with family members when Walls grabbed her and tried to use her as a shield, police said.
Two bystanders tackled Walls and held him until police arrived, authorities said. One of the men will need surgery to repair an injury to his face, and the other man was treated for a hand injury and released.
"Pittsburgh is a great city. This hospital is a great institution, and I couldn't say enough," Glen Meadows said. "Never dreamed that we'd be a patient here with her at this hospital, but we've made many visits to this hospital visiting Cooper. We're grateful for these great citizens of Pittsburgh that are heroes."
Walls was unable to post $250,000 bond and is jailed on attempted homicide and other charges. No attorney was listed on court papers.