By Karen Brooks and Phil Wahba
Nov 29 The post-Thanksgiving shopping rush
sparked incidents of violence across the United States as a
police officer was injured breaking up a fight, a shopper was
shot in the leg over a TV and a Walmart was evacuated, 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
"Black Friday," the biggest U.S. shopping day of the year,
started a few hours earlier this season as many department
stores for the first time opted to open or start discounts on
While most retailers reported peaceful - if 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
Apparently the threat was bogus, and authorities allowed
shoppers back in the store about an hour and 40 minutes later.
"Out of nowhere, they just said, 'You have to evacuate,'"
said Olaya Goodman of the Bronx.
A White Plains police dispatcher declined to comment.
In Romeoville, Illinois, police 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, 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 and three
suspects were arrested, Turvey said. The dragged officer was
treated at a hospital and released, the Chicago Tribune
In Las Vegas, a shopper was shot in the leg during a
struggle with thieves who tried to take the TV he had just
bought in a Black Friday sale at Target, as he was carrying it
to a nearby apartment complex, according to a report by KLAS-TV
in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas police did not respond to Reuters requests for
A police officer in Rialto, Calif., suffered a fractured
hand and finger after responding to an assault in the parking
lot of a Walmart just after the sales started Thursday, said
Sgt. Richard Royce of the Rialto Police Department, about 50
miles (80 km) east of Los Angeles.
"It was a pretty bizarre scene," he said.
Two shoppers were leaving the store when they were
confronted by two people in a vehicle in the parking lot. One
person from the vehicle got out and began punching and kicking
the shopper, and also assaulted a woman who tried to stop the
fight, Royce said.
When police tried to stop the fight, a second suspect
emerged from the vehicle and the two began fighting the
officers, he said.
Two victims were treated at a hospital and released, as was
the injured officer, Royce said.
The suspected attackers were charged with felony assault,
assault on a police officer, and assault with a deadly weapon,
Also in California, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's
Department said an armed man barricaded himself inside a store
in the Los Angeles suburb of La Crescenta on Friday afternoon
and then took his own life. He had not taken any hostages inside
the Verizon store, the Los Angeles Times reported.
In New Jersey, a Walmart shopper was arrested after becoming
belligerent and attacking a police officer inside a store in
Garfield, police said. Several officers subdued a 23-year-old
suspect and took him to jail.
Officers also ticketed a 29-year-old woman who spit on
another woman's child during an argument over infant clothing at
the same store, police said.
In Texas, a 22-year-old man was shot to death by police SWAT
officers after he kidnapped a 19-year-old woman from a
department store where she was working in Bulverde, north of San
Antonio, at about 1 a.m. on Friday morning, and led police on a
three-county chase that ended in a standoff.
The man took the woman, possibly his former girlfriend,
hostage at gunpoint, shoved her into a stolen police car and
fired shots at officers who gave chase for about 50 miles (80
kilometers), the Hays County Sheriff's Office said.
San Marcos police were able to puncture the vehicle's tires
south of Austin and shot the suspect dead after he threatened to
kill the woman and turned his weapon toward police. The extent
of her injuries was unclear.