Two security guards were stabbed on Monday, one of them fatally, at the Macy’s store in Center City Philadelphia by a man who had tried to steal hats from the store, the authorities said.
The man walked into the store around 10:45 a.m., and tried to steal several hats before he was stopped by security and turned away, John M. Stanford, Jr., the interim commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department, said at a news conference on Monday.
The man returned to the store about 15 minutes later armed with a knife, and he “immediately goes straight toward one of the security guards and then redirects his attention to a second,” Commissioner Stanford said.
A suspect fled the store on a subway train after 11 a.m., and he was found a short time later at the Somerset Station, northeast of the store, where he was arrested, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority said in a statement.
The victim who was killed was identified as a 30-year-old store security guard. He was stabbed once in the neck and was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the Philadelphia Police Department said in a statement. Another victim, a 23-year-old security guard, was stabbed in the face and left arm and was in stable condition, the police said.
“This started as a retail theft, upgraded obviously to a robbery, and then led ultimately to a homicide,” Commissioner Stanford said. “It’s just a tragic situation”
The security guards and the suspect were not publicly identified.
The transportation authority said in a statement earlier on Monday that a third person had also been injured in the attack, but the Philadelphia Police Department later said that there were only two victims.
It was also not immediately clear what led to the stabbing. Commissioner Stanford said on Monday that he did not want to speculate about the man’s motive, adding that “it certainly could appear” that the man attacked the security guards in retaliation taking back the store merchandise he had tried to steal.
The Macy’s store is on Market Street, across from Philadelphia’s City Hall. Commissioner Stanford said that the store has “experienced one of the highest levels of retail theft” in Center City this year, adding that there have been more than 250 shoplifting reports at the store.
“We are heartbroken about the incident that took place today,” Macy’s said in a statement on Monday.
The store was closed on Monday as the police were investigating, Macy’s said.
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