Remember the Wal-Mart shopper that pepper-sprayed people to get an Xbox 360 on Black Friday? Yeah, that Wal-Mart shopper that pepper-sprayed people to get an Xbox 360 on Black Friday. Well, turns out she may not have done it to get an Xbox 360 after all.
Police said early Tuesday in Porter Ranch, Calif., that the woman accused of using the pepper spray may have done so in self-defense, according to television station KTLA. The woman, 32, is still unidentified, and she has not been arrested while police continue to examine video and interview witnesses involved in the incident.
According to KTLA, the incident in question occurred near 10:10 p.m. Wal-Mart opened for Black Friday sales at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving night. Police told the station that the incident started from competitive shopping.
One witness said she heard screams after a shoving match among a crowd of nearly 100 people waiting to grab Xbox consoles out of a box brought over by a Wal-Mart employee.
As seen in the video below, employees struggle to maintain order before another employee with a bullhorn comes to try to clear some parts of the area.
Los Angeles police detective Michael Fesperman told KTLA that the woman, caught in the fray, may have feared for her life and reached for some pepper spray to use in self-defense.
There was a stampede at Wal-Mart from people getting Xbox games for half off, Fesperman said. There was no control. People were getting stampeded and trampled. There were people screaming, yelling that they were being trampled or crushed. This woman may have fired her pepper spray in self-defense.
According to officials from the fire department, at least 14 shoppers suffered minor injuries -- including skin and eye irritation -- and had to be treated outside.
In a statement Friday, Wal-Mart lamented the unfortunate situation at one of its stores.
We're glad everyone seems to be OK, the statement read. We're working with law enforcement to provide what information we have, such as surveillance video, to assist in their investigation.
The woman had originally turned herself in to authorities Friday night. Los Angeles Police Sgt. Jose Valle said Saturday that the woman was released pending further investigation after invoking her right against self-incrimination. At that time, Valle said it would be at least two days before an arrest could be made.
If police decide to pursue an arrest, the woman could face battery charges.