Fights, store evacuation mar Black Friday rush nationwide
"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 Thanksgiving night.
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 bomb threat.
"Out of nowhere, they just said, 'You have to evacuate,'" said Olaya Goodman of the Bronx.
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.
"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."
In Las Vegas, a shopper was shot in the leg during a struggle with thieves who tried to take the TV he had just purchased 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.
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.
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.
Two victims were treated at a hospital and released, as was the injured officer, Royce said.
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.
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