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Korean Air flight attendant stabbed in Downtown Los Angeles Target last year sues Target for negligence

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By Sangjin Kim

A Korean Air flight attendant who was seriously injured by a homeless man wielding a weapon at Downtown Los Angeles Target store last year is suing for damages. The woman alleges that the attack was caused by the negligence of Target, its security company, and the mall’s management company.

According to the Los Angeles County Superior Court (Judge Jill Feeney), Song, who lives in South Korea, requested a jury trial against Target, Watermark Security and Brookfield Properties, alleging negligence and premises liability.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Robert Glassman formally filed the complaint with the court on the 28th. A trial date has been set for Sept. 24 of next year.

In the complaint, the plaintiffs allege that “the incident that occurred on November 15, 2022, at Target inside FIG at 7th, a popular shopping mall near Figueroa Street and 7th Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles, was caused by the failure of the business to provide adequate safety measures.”

“On the day of the incident, the mentally ill Homeless freely walked into the Target store, grabbed a 9-inch long butcher knife from a display case, and brutally stabbed customers,” said Glassman. “After the incident, Target locked the knives in a display case, a safety measure that should have been implemented long ago.”

The plaintiffs are seeking physical and emotional damages, as well as the attorneys’ fees, though they did not specify specific damages in their complaint.

The plaintiffs claim that the security company and the mall management company are also liable.

In the complaint, the plaintiffs point to the security company’s negligence in failing to respond to the first victim, a 9-year-old girl, when she was stabbed, then also failing to immediately help the second victim even after the harm was already done.

“The preliminary investigation revealed that Ms. Song was attacked near the pharmacy inside the Target store at the time, which is a completely different location from where the first victim was stabbed,” said Glassman, “and that the homeless man was still walking freely through the store after stabbing the first victim with the knife.”

“Los Angeles is the largest mental ward in the United States,” the plaintiffs state in their complaint, citing articles and statistics from the LA Times, online publication Crosstown, and others.

“Los Angeles is particularly rife with homelessness and violence, and there are media reports that downtown residents and workers fear for their safety on a daily basis,” the complaint states.

“The very fact that Target hired armed security is a testament to the rise of homelessness and crime in Downtown,” said Glassman, adding, “Defendants failed to pay attention to the many foreseeable dangers, such as the knife being carelessly placed on display and the lack of security at the time of the incident.”

During the incident, Mr. Song reportedly suffered a severe lung injury and a dramatic drop in blood pressure, requiring emergency blood transfusion and surgery.

“We cannot comment on the ongoing litigation,” Target spokesperson Joe Unger told us on Tuesday, adding, “We prioritize the safety of our customers. We can confirm that a security guard intervened and stopped the attack.”

Meanwhile, the suspect in the stabbing was shot by an armed security guard as he walked toward the front of the store after the attack and was taken to a hospital, where he died.

 

BY JANG YEOL [jang.yeol@koreadaily.com]