Violence mars some Black Friday shopping events

AP News
Posted: Nov 25, 2011 6:45 PM
Violence mars some Black Friday shopping events

A robber shot a Black Friday shopper who refused to give up his purchases outside a Walmart store, leaving the victim hospitalized in critical but stable condition after one of several violent incidents in California that marred the annual bargain-hunting ritual, authorities said.

Police in San Leandro, about 15 miles east of San Francisco, said the victim and his family were walking to their car around 1:45 a.m. when they were confronted by a group of men who demanded their shopping items. When the family refused, a fight broke out, and one of the robbers pulled a gun and shot the man, said Sgt. Mike Sobek.

"The suspects saw these guys, got out of their car and tried to rob them but were unsuccessful," Sobek said.

At another Walmart in a wealthy suburb of Los Angeles, a woman trying to get the upper hand to buy cheap electronics unleashed pepper spray on a crowd of shoppers, causing minor injuries to 20 people, police said.

The attack took place about 10:20 p.m. Thursday shortly after doors opened for the sale at the Walmart in Porter Ranch in the San Fernando Valley.

The store had brought out a crate of discounted Xbox video game players, and a crowd had formed to wait for the unwrapping, when the woman began spraying people "in order to get an advantage," police Sgt. Jose Valle said.

"Faces were red," shopper John Lopez told ABC News Radio. "This one guy was coming up to my wife going, `Call an ambulance! Call an ambulance!'"

Ten people were slightly injured by the pepper spray and 10 others suffered minor bumps and bruises in the chaos, Valle said. They were treated at the scene.

The woman got away in the confusion, but it was not immediately clear whether she got an Xbox. If found, she could face felony battery charges, Valle said.

"Walmart is going through register receipts to see if it was purchased," he said.

In the San Leandro shooting, family members of the victim wrestled down one of the alleged robbers, but at least three others _ including the gunman _ fled in a car, police said.

Tony Phillips, 20, was arrested on suspicion of attempted homicide and attempted robbery and booked into Alameda County jail after being treated at the hospital for minor injuries from the scuffle with the victim's family, Sgt. Sobek said.

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Sobek and jail officials did not immediately know if Phillips had a lawyer.

Investigators were reviewing video from a surveillance camera mounted outside the store. "The footage is a bit grainy, but we're hoping it gives us a better idea of what happened," Sobek said.

Witnesses said the Walmart parking lot was crowded with Black Friday shoppers at the time, and the store was briefly closed as police investigated.

Also Friday, a man was stabbed outside a Sacramento mall in an apparent gang-related incident as shoppers were hitting the stores.

The victim was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

The stabbing stemmed from a fight between two groups around 3 a.m. in front of a Macy's department store at the Arden Fair Mall. The store had opened at midnight to offer shoppers post-Thanksgiving deals.

Richard Swift, a witness, told KCRA-TV that the stabbing involved three men and began when one of them made a comment about women who were with two other men.

No arrests have been made. Police were hoping surveillance video will help identify the suspects.