Long Island, NY- A Wal-Mart worker died early Friday after an "out-of-control" mob of frenzied shoppers smashed through the Long Island store's front doors and trampled him, police said.
The Black Friday stampede plunged the Valley Stream outlet into chaos, knocking several employees to the ground and sending others scurrying atop vending machines to avoid the horde.
When the madness ended, 34-year-old Jdimytai Damour was dead and four shoppers, including a woman eight months pregnant, were injured.
CAUGHT ON CAMERA: WAL-MART CROWD MOMENTS BEFORE DEADLY STAMPEDE"He was bum-rushed by 200 people," said Wal-Mart worker Jimmy Overby, 43. "They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed him in front of me. They took me down, too ... I didn't know if I was going to live through it. I literally had to fight people off my back," Overby said.
Damour, a temporary maintenance worker from Jamaica, Queens, was gasping for air as shoppers continued to surge into the store after its 5 a.m. opening, witnesses said.
Even officers who arrived to perform CPR on the trampled worker were stepped on by wild-eyed shoppers streaming inside, a cop at the scene said.
"They pushed him down and walked all over him," Damour's sobbing sister, Danielle, 41, said. "How could these people do that? He was such a young man with a good heart, full of life. He didn't deserve that." Damour's sister said doctors told the family he died of a heart attack.
His cousin, Ernst Damour, called the circumstances "completely unacceptable." "His body was a stepping bag with so much disregard for human life," Ernst Damour, 37, said. "There has to be some accountability."
Roughly 2,000 people gathered outside the Wal-Mart's doors in the predawn darkness. Chanting "push the doors in," the crowd pressed against the glass as the clock ticked down to the 5 a.m. opening.
Sensing catastrophe, nervous employees formed a human chain inside the entrance to slow down the mass of shoppers.
It didn't work.
The mob barreled in and overwhelmed workers. "They were jumping over the barricades and breaking down the door," said Pat Alexander, 53, of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. "Everyone was screaming. You just had to keep walking on your toes to keep from falling over."
After the throng toppled Damour, his fellow employees had to fight through the crowd to help him, police said. Witness Kimberly Cribbs said shoppers acted like "savages." "When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling, 'I've been on line since Friday morning!'" Cribbs said. "They kept shopping."
But that's not all...
Clear across the country in Los Angels, gunshots break out and two men die.
2 Killed in Black Friday Toys 'R Us Shooting: 2 men with handguns shot and killed each other
Two men pulled guns and shot each other to death in a crowded Toys 'R Us store Friday after women they were with got into a bloody brawl for unknown reasons, witnesses said. Scared shoppers fled but no one else was hurt.
The violence erupted on Black Friday, the traditional post-Thanksgiving start of the holiday shopping surge, but authorities indicated the shooting shortly after 11:30 a.m. was not prompted by shopping frenzy.
Riverside County sheriff's Sgt. Dennis Gutierrez said the fight was not over a toy. He said handguns were found by the men's bodies. He would not answer a question about whether the shooting was gang-related.
The victims were identified as Alejandro Moreno, 39, of Desert Hot Springs, and Juan Meza, 28, of Cathedral City.
Witnesses Scott and Joan Barrick said they were checking out of the store when the fight began between two women, each with a man. The women were near the checkout area but the Barricks believed the women did not have purchases.
One woman suddenly started punching the other woman, who fought back as blood flowed from her nose, Scott Barrick, 41, said. The man who was with the woman being punched pulled a gun halfway out of his pocket, then shoved it back in, he said.
"He pulled his gun right next to me. I turned to look for my wife and she was already hiding," Barrick said.
"I was scared," said Joan Barrick, 40. "I didn't want to die today. I really didn't want to die today and I think that's what we were all thinking."
The other man pulled a gun and pointed it at the first man but forgot to cock it, Scott Barrick said. The first man tried to run but was blocked by the line of people, then ran back toward the store's electronics section as the other man fired his gun, he said.
The first man reached a dead-end in electronics, turned around and ran toward an exit, pulling his gun and firing back, he said.
"He went up to the cash register, he went to put his hand on the thing and he just went phoomp," he said, indicating the man fell.
He said he did not see what happened to the other man.
Immediately after the shooting, about 20 people rushed into the World Gym across the street from Toys 'R' Us. Sarah Pacia of Cathedral City says she was in the store with her two boys, ages 4 and 6, looking at coloring books when she heard a commotion in the next aisle.
She thought it was people rushing to get a sale item. Then she heard three or four shots. She says she froze, and store employees calmly escorted her out of the store.
Palm Desert Councilman Jim Ferguson said police told him two men with handguns shot and killed each other and that there were 25 witnesses. Ferguson said he asked police whether the incident was gang-related.
"I think the obvious question everyone has is who takes loaded weapons into a Toys 'R' Us?" he said in an interview. "I doubt it was the casual holiday shopper."
Copyright Associated Press
How much has to happen before people come to grips with the reality that there are good an bad in all of us. Under NORMAL circumstances, this can be repressed and hidden. But with the right amount of pressure applied in the right place a person's true nature is revealed.
Most people who haven't been put "under fire" don't know how they will react. TRAINING ensures that you will do what is needed when the "fit hits the shan". Practice and proper training takes the decision making out of it. Would you stop an armed gunmen or a stampedeing croud? I don't know, but you will be able to tell something is going down and get you and your family to safety.
Is the risk of personal safety worth the reward of saving an extra $30 on a Wii? That's your decision to make. Today I'm embarrassed for the human race :oops:. So much for evolution and civility.
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