This years Black Friday turned out to be a not so nice one after three deaths were reported in two stores across the country.
Two people were killed in a shooting at a Palm Desert, California, Toys “R” Us store and a Wal-Mart emplyee was killed in Long Island, New York.
In the first, police say a temporary Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death in a rush of thousands of early morning shoppers as he and other employees attempted to unlock the doors of a Long Island store at 5 a.m.
The Wal-Mart worker, whom authorities did not identify, was 34 and lived in Queens, said Nassau County police Detective Lt. Michael Fleming.
“This was utter chaos as these men tried to open the door this morning,” Fleming said.
Video showed as many as a dozen people knocked to the floor in the stampede of people trying to get into the Wal-Mart store, Fleming said.
The employee was “stepped on by hundreds of people” as other workers attempted to fight their way through the crowd, Fleming said.
“Several minutes” passed before others were able to clear space around the man and attempt to render aid. Police arrived, and “as they were giving first aid, those police officers were also jostled and pushed,” he said.
The crowd had begun forming outside the store by 9 p.m. Thursday, Fleming said. By 5 a.m. Friday, when the doors were unlocked, there were 2,000 or so shoppers, many of whom “surged forward,” breaking the doors, he said.
The man was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Others in the crowd sustained minor injuries such as sprained ankles, Fleming said.
A 28-year-old pregnant woman was taken to a hospital, but “the baby is going to be OK,” Fleming said. She was to be released later in the day, he said.
In the second incident two men were shot dead in a Toys “R” Us in Palm Desert, California, after they argued in the store, police said.
The toy company and authorities said the shootings had nothing to do with Black Friday shopping.
The shootings occurred about 11:30 a.m. (2:30 p.m. ET), authorities said.
By the time police arrived, two men were dead from gunshot wounds, Riverside County sheriff’s Sgt. Dennis Gutierrez said. He said authorities are not seeking any other suspects.
Gutierrez said that the men did not appear to be store employees and that the dispute appeared unrelated to shopping.
“There was a confrontation inside of the store. But over a toy? I don’t think that is accurate,” he said.
Two handguns were found near the men’s bodies, Gutierrez said.
In a written statement, Toys “R” Us spokeswoman Kathleen Waugh said the shooting appeared unrelated to the heavy shopping day.
“Our understanding is that this act seems to have been the result of a personal dispute between the individuals involved,” she said.
She said company officials were “outraged” by the shooting and were working with authorities to find out what happened.
Gutierrez said no one else in the store was injured. Gutierrez said no one else in the store was injured. The store remained closed Friday afternoon but was expected to open as usual Saturday.
He said authorities would not release the men’s names until their families have been notified.