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Masked Men Attack Theater Director Outside Target With Pipe

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Police are looking for two men who brutally attacked a local theater director with a pipe outside of an Uptown Target store.

Derek Whitener (Courtesy of Firehouse Theatre)

Derek Whitener, artistic and education director of The Firehouse Theatre in Farmers Branch is recovering in the intensive care unit from a fractured skull, bleeding and swelling of his brain.

Whitener had just finished acting and singing in a show at the theatre Saturday night and decided to stop for groceries at the Target off of Haskell Avenue near U.S. Highway 75.

It was then that two masked men -- one wearing a monkey mask, and another in a ski mask -- approached him outside of the store.

The 33-year-old's attorney and friends said he wasn't robbed. At this point in the investigation, there's no known reason for the attack.

His family and friends are shocked by what happened.

Described at "creative, passionate" on a Go Fund Me page set up to help with medical bills, Whitener faces at least six to eight weeks for a full recovery.

Despite Whitener's serious injuries, he called friend and co-worker David Moore to let him know he wouldn't make it into work. "That's just the kind of guy he is," said Moore.

The Whitener Family emailed CBS11 the following statement:

We are deeply saddened by the attack that took place Saturday night involving our son Derek Whitener. Derek is well-known in the Texas theater community, and his contributions to the profession as a director, actor and costume designer are recognized by many.

Derek is a good person, one who delights in using his craft to bring joy to those around him. He did not deserve to be the victim of such a brutal and cowardly attack.

Right now, our family is focused on his recovery. We want to do everything in our power to help him heal and, likewise, all that is possible to support the police in their investigation. In that regard, we're asking that anyone who saw anything Saturday night come forward and help.

For Derek, we ask for your continued thoughts and prayers.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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