A Nashville man says he was pepper sprayed by a stranger while sitting in his car outside of a popular shopping center.

Monday night, the man who doesn’t wish to be identified, says he was sitting in his car in the parking lot of Opry Mills with the windows down, checking his phone. He was waiting to go inside to have dinner with friends.

He says he noticed a dark gray SUV pull into the spot next to him, and then he was sprayed in the face.

“It just stung, it burned so bad,” the man said.

Unable to see and find his phone, which he tossed after he was sprayed, he got out of his car and yelled for help.

“I was just so worried if it was acid or bleach,” he said.

He says mall security and EMTs told him it was pepper spray, but whoever sprayed him was nowhere to be found.

“What makes you grow up to be such a human where you want to terrorize other people,” he said.

Regardless of the motive, the victim says everyone can learn from this attack.

“I just want this to be a huge wake up call for so many people,” he said. “I feel like we’ve grown into such a habit just being on our cellphones right when we park.”

It’s a distraction that can make anyone an easy target to criminals.

“Whether you’re in a secluded place or a popular place just definitely be on the lookout,” he said. “Be vigilant. Be aware. Be attentive to your surroundings.”

The Metro Police Department is investigating this case and looking into possible surveillance video.  

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Brittany Weiner joined the News4 team as a reporter in July 2018.

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