A police officer was injured while breaking up a fight outside a California Walmart, a shopper was shot in the leg over a TV in Las Vegas and a Walmart north of New York City was evacuated as the post-Thanksgiving shopping rush sparked incidents of violence across the nation, according to police and media reports.
The holiday shopping incidents also included a suspected shoplifter shot by police in a Chicago suburb and a woman spitting on another woman’s child in an argument over baby clothes.
“Black Friday,” the biggest US shopping day of the year, began a few hours earlier this season as many department stores for the first time opted to open or start discounts on Thanksgiving night.
While most retailers reported peaceful – but also hectic – opening hours, some saw the shopping craze erupt into violence.
In White Plains, just north of New York City, an outlet of Wal-Mart Stores Inc was evacuated on Friday, with employees and shoppers saying they had been warned of a possible bomb threat.
“Out of nowhere, they just said, ‘You have to evacuate,'” said Olaya Goodman of the Bronx, as she stood outside the store.
A fire engine and police with automatic weapons responded to the store. A White Plains police dispatcher declined to comment on the incident.
Suspected shoplifter shot
Police in Romeoville, Illinois, shot a suspected shoplifter in the shoulder late Thursday night after the car he was driving dragged an officer through the parking lot of a Kohl’s department store, Romeoville Police Chief Mark Turvey said in a video posted by the Chicago Tribune newspaper.
Police were responding to a report of two shoplifters at the store when an officer chased one of the suspects to a waiting vehicle, where the suspect jumped into the passenger seat, Turvey said.
“The officer was struggling with the suspect as he got into the car, and then the car started to move as the officer was partially inside the car,” Turvey said. “The officer was dragged quite some distance.”
Another officer shot the driver in the shoulder, the car stopped, and three suspects were arrested, Turvey said. The dragged officer was treated at a hospital and released, the Chicago Tribune newspaper reported.