Holiday Shoppers Break Into Brawls Across The Country
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Black Friday turned into Bad Friday for multiple shoppers across the country, including those at several stores in the Tri-State Area.
As WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported Saturday morning, police officers converged inside the Danbury Fair Mall in Connecticut when nearly 20 people started fighting in the food court. The brawl forced Black Friday shoppers to panic and start running.
Exacerbating the problem, police said, was the fact that someone yelled “gun,” even though officers later confirmed there were no shots fired nor a weapon found at the scene.
Still, some started running, and nearby stores locked their doors.
“Me and my friend were coming, and we saw people running out and screaming and stuff,” one witness told CBS 2’s Lou Young.
We just saw a bunch of people running in an out. That’s all we saw,” another said.
There were no reports of arrests. Order was soon restored, and business resumed as usual.
The Danbury Fair Mall is the second-largest mall in Connecticut and the fifth largest in New England.
Out-of-control shoppers also caused a melee at a Wal-Mart in Garfield, N.J. A shopper ended up in handcuffs and was pepper-sprayed by police.
Richard Ramos, 23, was charged with aggravated assault of a police officer, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct. Police said he got into an argument Thursday night with a store manager over a new TV.
At the very same Wal-Mart Friday a short time earlier, a woman identified as Crystal Hickman was arrested for allegedly spitting on another woman and striking that woman’s child, according to published reports.
Around 7:18 p.m. Thursday, a Linden fire captain monitoring the Gray Thursday crowds at the Wal-Mart told an officer that a woman was in possession of a stun gun.
Police said they later learned that a 42-year-old Staten Island woman had been arguing with another woman, when the second woman pulled the stun gun and activated it in a threatening manner.
Mathis, of Elizabeth, N.J., was arrested after the TW-11 stun gun was found in her purse, police said.
Black Friday shopping chaos was also reported elsewhere across the country. In Philadelphia, a fight involving at least four people broke out at the Franklin Mills Mall.
Two men and two women were involved in the brawl, CBS Philadelphia reported. The men merely used their fists, but one of the women used a stun gun and it all happened in front of a child.
An eyewitness cell phone video showed two women in the foreground and the video follows them as they tussle on the floor. The stun gun flashes three times before they break apart.
It was unclear early Saturday what caused the fight or if the participants were arrested, but there was an innocent victim, CBS Philadelphia reported. A stroller was left alone during the fight, right in the middle of all of the action.
A few frames later in the video, one of them men jerks the stroller violently, nearly right into the fray and then the video shows a baby clearly visible in the stroller.
Shoppers also got out of control in Elkin, N.C., where a free-for-all broke out at a Wal-Mart among on “Gray Thursday,” or Thanksgiving Day. A New York filmmaker, Brian Spain, captured the scene as people fought for discount TVs.
One shopper held onto her TV set, even as police wrestled her to the ground and then arrested her. Store workers tried their best to control the chaos, but after the crush, merchandise was thrown everywhere.
Spain said he was ordered to leave the store for filming, even though those fighting were allowed to stay and shop, CBS Charlotte reported.
“I went to the Walmart in my parent’s town on Thanksgiving around 8pm. I was driving back to the hotel and I saw it PACKED!” Spain wrote in the video’s description. “Therefore I went in, and expected to interview people about why they are there.”
It continued, “Instead I saw this, videoed [sic] it, and was promptly kicked out of the store.”
He included it in a Twitter message that also employed the hashtags “#WalmartFights” and “#BlackFriday,” CBS Charlotte reported. The former was trending as stores began opening on Thanksgiving for eager holiday shoppers, due to the reportedly large amount of altercations taking place at Walmart locations throughout the nation.
In Orlando, Fla., a father was arrested when his 2-month-old son was left in a car outside a Best Buy. And in Las Vegas, a shopper carrying a big-screen TV from a Target store was shot and wounded by a robber Thursday night.
And in Claypool Hill, Va., two men were arrested after one stabbed the other over a parking space.
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