UPDATE: Two suspects have been taken into custody. The first suspect, a juvenile, was picked up by the police on January 27. A second suspect, 17-year-old Zantrell Sauls, was taken into custody on January 30, at 5:15 pm. Sauls, pictured here, is thought to be the suspect who wore the black hoodie with white lettering during the crime. He was transported to the Crimes Against Persons Division and was interviewed by investigators. He is being charged with Aggravated Assault, a felony of the second degree. Derek Whitener was also released from the hospital on January 29.
The Dallas Police Department has released new surveillance photos of the suspects involved in the vicious January 14 assault of theater director Derek Whitener. The attack took place in the parking lot of the CityPlace Target on Haskell Avenue, and the images show the suspects at the CityPlace/Uptown DART station.
As you'll recall, Crime Stoppers is offering $5,000 to anyone with information that leads to an arrest and conviction of the two men. The public is encouraged to contact Detective Hubner in the Assaults Unit at 214-671-3639 or Crime Stoppers at 214-373-TIPS (8477) if they know anything.
A previously released statement from DPD describes the first suspect as a black male between 18 and 20 years old, 5'9", and 150 pounds. He was last seen wearing a gray jacket, black pants, black backpack, black gloves, gorilla mask, and armed with a 3-foot wooden dowel rod.
Suspect no. 2 is a black male between 18-20, 5'9", and 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.
According to a police report, Whitener arrived at the CityPlace Market Target on January 14 following a performance of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at the Firehouse Theatre in Farmers Branch, where he is the artistic director. He was walking toward the entrance when the suspects walked toward him. The suspects were then observed walking away after he made it to the front door. Inside, Whitener reported the individuals as suspicious to Target personnel. Meanwhile, the suspects remained near the front entrance.
Target security alerted an off-duty Dallas police officer. Both the security guard and the off-duty officer approached the suspects near the entrance. One suspect walked away, while the suspect with the wooden rod had a brief discussion with the off-duty officer and security guard. The suspects were asked to leave the property.
At around 11:05 pm, Whitener exited the Target after shopping. As he walked to his vehicle, he was approached by the suspects. They made a threatening statement, then beat him with the stick and fled on foot towards the street. A customer in the parking lot reported the incident to the off-duty officer.
Whitener underwent surgery at Baylor Medical Center to remove a hematoma, and was recently transferred out the ICU and is now listed in stable condition.
A GoFundMe page was established to help cover his medical costs, and more than $100,000 has been raised in under 10 days. Theatre Three hosted a benefit concert on January 24 that collected over $1,600, organizer Calvin Scott Roberts confirmed.