Apparently taking a cue from Occupy Wall Street police tactics, a woman at a Black Friday sale in Los Angeles, Calif., reportedly attacked fellow shoppers with pepper spray at a San Fernando Valley Wal-Mart.
A female suspect, who is still at large, armed herself with pepper spray to gain preferred access to a variety of locations in the store, Los Angeles Fire Capt. James Carson told the Los Angeles Times.
She was competitive shopping, Carson said.
About twenty shoppers were injured in the attack, including 18-year-old Matthew Lopez.
I heard screaming and I heard yelling, Lopez told the Times. Moments later, my throat stung. I was coughing really bad and watering up...It was absolutely crazy.
The competitive shopper struck at around 10 p.m. Thursday, as eager bargain hunters began tearing at packages of Wii and X box gaming consoles. Alejandra Seminario, 24, inhaled some of the pepper spray from the next aisle.
People started screaming, pulling and pushing each other, and then the whole area filled up with pepper spray, Seminario told the Times. I guess what triggered it was people started pulling the plastic off the pallets and then shoving and bombarding the display of games. It started with people pushing and screaming because they were getting shoved onto the boxes.
I did not want to get involved, Seminario added. I was too scared. I just stayed in the toy aisle.
Though parts of the store were temporarily evacuated, Seminario and her husband still managed to get their hands on a Wii and some Barbie dolls, and said the air still smelled like pepper spray when they paid for their items about 20 minutes later.
On her way out Seminario encountered more victims being questioned by Wal-Mart employees. They had been sprayed in the face, it looked like, and they had swelling of the face, really extreme swelling of face, redness, coughing.
This was customer-versus-customer 'shopping rage,' Los Angeles Police Lt. Abel Parga told the Times.
A customer who arrived at the same Wal-Mart Black Friday sale a couple of hours later said she would not be deterred by the threat of competitive shopping rage.
I don't care. I'm still getting my TV, Nakeasha Contreras, 20, told the Times. I've never seen Wal-Mart so crazy, but I guess it could have been worse.
In fact, it has been much worse.
In 2008, a Wal-Mart employee in Long Island, N.Y., was trampled to death as customers broke down the entrance ahead of a Black Friday sale offering deeply discounted electronics.