| Black Friday took a grim turn when a Wal-Mart employee in New York died after bargain hunters broke down the doors to the store.
The 34-year-old male employee was pronounced dead one hour after shoppers broke down the doors to the shopping center in Valley Stream, N.Y., and knocked him down at around 5 a.m. Friday, police said.
“He was bum-rushed by 200 people,” Jimmy Overby, the man’s 43-year-old co-worker told the New York Daily News. “They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me. They took me down too … I literally had to fight people off my back.”
A 28-year-old pregnant woman was also taken in for observation and three other shoppers suffered minor injuries during the incident, police said.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., in Bentonville, Ark., would not confirm the reports of a stampede at the Valley Stream outlet but said a “medical emergency” had caused them to close the store.
“Local authorities are looking into the situation,” said Wal-Mart representative Dan Fogleman. “Until such time that they’ve completed their assessment it would be inappropriate for me to share any additional information.”
Shoppers around the country lined up early outside stores Friday in the annual bargain hunting ritual known as Black Friday. It got that name because it’s historically been the day when stores broke into profitability for the full year.
Many stores open early and stay open late. The Valley Stream Wal-Mart usually opens at 9 a.m.
Nassau County police were at the scene investigating.