(UPDATED: 10/26, 4:55 p.m.)
Black Friday’s extreme sales always bring out the most competitive shoppers, who aren’t afraid to cut a line or throw an elbow to nab the best bargains. But this year, the usual pushing and shoving escalated into outright mayhem in many locations as shoppers literally came to blows. A snapshot of incidents:
At a Walmart in the affluent Porter Ranch neighborhood of Los Angeles, a woman wielding pepper spray doused her fellow shoppers as the staff unwrapped a crate of Xboxes. “Somehow she was trying to use it to gain an upper hand,” LAPD lieutenant Abel Parga told the Associated Press. With other shoppers blinded by the spray, police said the woman was able to snag an Xbox, head to the cashier and escape undetected—though Los Angeles police report that the woman turned herself in late Friday. She has been released pending a police investigation and witness testimonies and could be charged with battery if police decide to proceed with the case.
(PHOTOS: Black Friday Craziness)
A few hours south, outside a Walmart in San Leandro, Calif. (15 miles east of San Francisco), a man was shot during an attempted robbery. As he left the store with his family at 1:45 a.m., a group of at least four gunmen allegedly demanded they turn over their purchases. “It appears to be a crime of opportunity,” San Leandro sergeant Mike Sobek told the San Jose Mercury News. When a fight broke out, one of the would-be robbers fired a gun, striking the man. Most of the assailants fled, but the family pinned down one of the men. The victim, in his 20s, is in stable condition and expected to survive.
But the chaos spread outside California. At least six other states saw instances of Black Friday violence at Walmarts as tempers ran high and patience low.
- Rome, N.Y. – A fight broke out as the clock ticked midnight at the local Walmart, leading to two injuries and one arrest.
- Myrtle Beach, S.C. – Two people were injured in an attempted armed robbery. Thieves hit a man on the head and shot a woman in the leg outside a Walmart at 1 a.m.
- Kissimmee, Fla. – A man was arrested after a fight at a Walmart jewelry counter.
- Buckeye, Ariz. – Police tackled a grandfather for alleged shoplifting, smashing his head into the concrete floor. Witnesses said the man put a video game into his waistband while attempting to lift his grandson above the crowd. But police claimed he was attempting to shoplift, taking the man into custody.
And in the wildest video of the day, a Little Rock, Ark. Walmart saw a near-riot break out over $2 waffle makers. Fortunately, there were no injuries reported, but fighting broke out as shoppers jockeyed for position.
Pandemonium: it’s a new post-Thanksgiving tradition.