published Saturday, March 30th, 2013

Stabbed teen comes home to Chattanooga

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    Allison Meadows talks about the attack during an interview at her home. She is recovering from surgery for her wounds.
    Photo by Doug Strickland.
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The 16-year-old girl who was stabbed in a Pennsylvania Target checkout lane earlier this week is recovering well and has made her way home to Chattanooga.

Silverdale Baptist Academy sophomore Allison Meadows was visiting Pittsburgh on spring break when a homeless man stabbed her and several others in the store. Despite the traumatic event, her father, Glen Meadows, said she's doing well physically and emotionally.

"Surprisingly, she's handling it quite well," he said. "One of the really good things is that she just doesn't recall a good amount of what went on."

Allison was released from a Pittsburgh hospital Thursday. The family got back to Chattanooga on Friday after a two-day drive home.

After the stabbing of several people in and outside the Target store, 41-year-old Leon Walls faces charges including attempted homicide, resisting arrest and aggravated assault, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has a criminal history and was wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service for probation violation, the newspaper reported.

Witnesses said Walls seemed deranged and was yelling threats and accusations that others were robbing him.

Walls had no connection to Allison Meadows, who was in Pennsylvania to visit her 3-year-old nephew. The boy is recovering from a triple organ transplant.

Several bystanders tackled Walls and held him in a locked room until police arrived.

Allison and her father have cited their Christian faith as cornerstones to coping with Monday's trauma.

Allison tweeted "God is so incredibly good" from the hospital this week. Meadows said he feels blessed that his daughter's life was spared. And thankful that strangers got involved to fight off the attacker.

"They literally put their lives on the line," he said. "They were God-sent heroes."

Contact staff writer Kevin Hardy at or 423-757-6249.

about Kevin Hardy...

Kevin rejoined the Times Free Press in August 2011 as the Southeast Tennessee K-12 education reporter. He worked as an intern in 2009, covering the communities of Signal Mountain, Red Bank, Collegedale and Lookout Mountain, Tenn. A native Kansan, Kevin graduated with bachelor's degrees in journalism and sociology from the University of Kansas. After graduating, he worked as an education reporter in Hutchinson, Kan., for a year before coming back to Chattanooga. Honors include a ...

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