Man dressed in all black pointed a fake weapon at me in a Target store...

by Sally
(Shirley, IN)

Today, I was shopping at Target and as I made my way thru the store, I encountered a man, dressed all in black, with a black helmet on, carrying a large gun. He was walking away from me, so I turned and went down a different aisle. I was PANIC stricken!

In today's climate, I had NO IDEA what might be going on -- whether there was some kind of active shooter situation going on or whether this was a police officer. Whatever the case, it was unsettling to say the least, and it created a great deal of panic in that moment.

I stood there for a minute, pulled out my phone and a few minutes later, I saw another man, all in black, with the same style of large weapon move across the end of the aisle. I started snapping pictures, and one of the men in black, with his face totally covered in a black shield that was on his helmet peaked around the corner of the end cap, looking right at me! It was TERRIFYING! I have a picture of it.

Eventually, I ventured back around to the first aisle and saw that there was a "Star Wars" interactive presentation going on at the back of the store, and these men were simply characters in the presentation. However, as I continued snapping pictures, one of the men (could have been anyone - I couldn't see his face because of the black shield) pointed his gun STRAIGHT AT ME.

I have a picture of it! He has on black gloves and his gun is pointed right at me. I also have a picture of the other black clothed man pointing HIS gun at me, as well. It is HAUNTING! I was so shaken that I eventually left the shirt I was going to purchase and left the store.

On my way out, the character who had pointed his gun at me, was right behind me, following me down the aisle. I felt completely unsafe. All I could think about was the recent movie theater shootings and shootings that have taken place in malls.

Even though these people were costumed figures, how did I know that the people inside the costumes weren't some kind of unhinged individual just waiting to fire on me?

Kids today are suspended for chewing their sandwich in the shape of a gun, or pretending to shoot with their fingers on a play ground - how is it okay to have costumed figures running around in a store pointing VERY REAL looking weapons at unsuspecting customers? Is there anything I can do about this? Would I have to file a lawsuit, or lodge a complaint? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Man dressed in all black pointed a fake weapon at me in a Target store...":

Sally (Shirley, IN):

There is no doubt Target exercised extremely poor judgment in permitting these Star Wars figures to roam the store. Fortunately, you were not physically injured and didn't require medical care. However, no one would argue your fright wasn't palpable.

To have the basis of a lawsuit against Target would require you to prove you were injured, whether physically or psychologically. This is referred to as your Burden of Proof. To learn more about Burden of proof check out this page:

What's the legal burden of proof for claims and lawsuits?

In your case, the injury may be considered a psychological one. However, to support a claim of psychological injury would require proof. That proof must be in the form of a medical, psychiatric, or psychological narrative written by a physician, psychiatrist, or psychologist.

Moreover, that narrative would have to confirm you sustained a medical, psychiatric or psychological injury requiring treatment.

If you believe you sustained an injury as set out above, and have the written narrative supporting that injury, then you may have the basis of a viable negligence claim against Target. If though, you can't secure such a narrative, then your action may be limited to filing a complaint with the Target Corporate Offices.

Target Corporate Office Headquarters
1000 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55403 USA

Corporate Phone Number: 1-612-304-6073
Corporate Fax Number: 1-612-761-5555


The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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