Three members of the social media group Dads Against Predators “lured” a man to a North Carolina store before attacking him, officials said.
The man allegedly fired a gun into a target to try and stop the beating on June 28. The shooting injured one of his accused assailants, but the attack on the Hanes Mall Boulevard store, the The Winston-Salem Police Department said in an updated press release.
Officials said the group continued to beat the man, taking his gun and leaving the target in a car that may have had an Ohio license plate.
“Our team immediately evacuated the store and the Winston-Salem Police Department responded quickly,” Target spokesman Brian Harper-Tibaldo wrote in an emailed statement to McClatchy News at the time of the incident. “The store has since reopened and we are assisting the police in their investigation.”
Now, days after the attack, officials said they have identified three men responsible for it. The men — residents of North Carolina and Ohio — are associated with a group called Dads Against Predators, according to police.
Officers in their release did not share additional details about the group, but said three people associated with it “lured” the victim to the target. They are accused of arranging the meeting on… the Meetup appwhich is designed to help people find new friends and activities.
“Once the victim arrived at the target, the three men approached the victim and confronted him with the reason why he was with the target,” police wrote. “At least one of the white men recorded this interaction on their cell phone when the victim punched one of the men’s phone, resulting in a physical altercation.”
During the ensuing fight, the man who had been lured to the store was hit over and over in the head. At one point, he reportedly fired a single shot to try and stop the attack.
The gun owner, a 25-year-old man, later went to a hospital with minor injuries, McClatchy News reported.
The next day, one of the accused assailants was treated at an Ohio medical center after he said he had been shot in the leg. Officials said they also found the gun taken during the Target incident.
Officers urge anyone with information about the robbery to call Winston-Salem Police Department at 336-773-7700 and Crime Stoppers at 336-727-2800 or in Spanish at 336-728-3904. People can too share details online or through the Text-A-Tip Program.