Saturday, November 29, 2008
NEW YORK, Nov. 28 -- A Wal-Mart worker was killed Friday after "out-of-control" shoppers desperate for bargains broke down the doors at a 5 a.m. sale. Other workers were trampled as they tried to rescue the man, and customers shouted angrily and kept shopping when store officials said they were closing because of the death, police and witnesses said.
At least four other people, including a woman eight months pregnant, were taken to hospitals for observation or minor injuries, and the store in Valley Stream on Long Island was closed for several hours.
Nassau County police said about 2,000 people were gathered outside the store doors. The impatient crowd knocked the man, identified by police as Jdimytai Damour of Queens, to the ground as he opened the doors, leaving a metal portion of the frame crumpled like an accordion.
Dozens of store employees trying to fight their way out to help the man were also getting trampled by the crowd, said police spokesman Lt. Michael Fleming said.
Witnesses said that even as the worker lay on the ground, shoppers streamed into the store, stepping over the 34-year-old man.
"When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling 'I've been on line since yesterday morning,' " said Kimberly Cribbs, who witnessed the stampede. "They kept shopping."
Police said criminal charges were possible in the case, but Fleming said it would be difficult to identify individual shoppers. Authorities were reviewing surveillance video.