Second Suspect Arrested in Attack on Dallas Stage Director

News   Second Suspect Arrested in Attack on Dallas Stage Director
 
Derek Whitener of The Firehouse Theatre was left with a fractured skull.
Derek Whitener
Derek Whitener

A second suspect has been arrested in a January 14 attack on Dallas area stage director Derek Whitener that left him with a fractured skull, according to the Dallas News.

After harassing Whitener inside the Cityplace Target department store, the assailants reportedly waited for him in the mall parking lot and assaulted him with a wooden rod while wearing gorilla masks. A security guard and an off-duty police offer had earlier asked the pair to leave the store after Whitener complained.

Images of the attackers were captured on mall security cameras. A juvenile whose identity was withheld by police was arrested January 25. The second teen, identified as Zantrell Sauls, 17, was arrested January 30.

Whitener, who is the artistic director and education director of The Firehouse Theatre in Farmers Branch, Texas, was treated at the intensive care unit of Baylor University Medical Center, and released January 28.

The local ABC-TV affiliate quoted Whitener’s partner as saying Whitener was left with “a large contusion causing brain swelling” that's “affecting his speech and motor functions.” Whitener will likely face a long convalescence, but is expected to recover fully, the station reported.

The Dallas theatre community has raised more than $100,000 toward Whitener’s medical expenses through benefit performances and a GoFundMe campaign.

Whitener’s attorney released the following statement on the day of his release: “We are blessed and pleased to announce that Derek Whitener was released from the hospital this morning. We are, of course, thrilled at this development, but also mindful that Derek still faces what most likely will be a long and painful road to full recovery.We’d like to extend our sincere gratitude and thanks as to all of Derek’s friends—old and new—who have done everything possible to help Derek heal from this horrific event. Derek and his family are profoundly grateful for the diligent, heroic efforts of the Dallas Police Department in catching the first suspect, making our streets safer. We appreciate the inspiring, national outpouring of support for Derek’s case, and remain committed in the difficult days ahead to doing everything that is necessary to make sure this preventable tragedy never happens again.”

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