When Black Friday sales opened early Thursday night, some eager shoppers finished giving thanks and rushed to the stores. But for a few families, the overnight rush brought tragedy.
Three men were shot outside busy Black Friday sales near Reno, Nevada and Atlantic City, New Jersey. The shootings claimed two lives and saw a third man wounded.
A fight over a parking spot led to one death outside a Reno, Nevada Walmart on Thursday evening. Walmart has a reputation for chaotic Black Friday sales, which have seen employees trampled and shoppers injured as brawls and stampedes erupt. This year, Walmart opened the doors to its Black Friday sale at 6 p.m. on Thursday. But in an incident police characterize as a road rage attack, one early shopper never made it to the door.
At 6:05 p.m., just after Walmart doors opened, two drivers attempted to pull into the same parking space. In the ensuing argument, one driver allegedly pulled a gun on the other, shooting him outside the store. The victim, an unnamed 33-year-old man, was pronounced dead at the scene. The shooter allegedly fled the scene, leaving his victim behind in the Walmart parking lot.
Police say they have the shooter in custody, although they have not released either person’s name, as the incident is still under investigation.
Several hours later in New Jersey, two brothers, ages 20 and 26, were outside a Black Friday sale at the Macy’s in New Jersey’s Hamilton Mall around 1 a.m. on Friday when someone opened fire on them, killing one and wounding the other. The unnamed 20-year-old was shot to death in the Macy’s parking lot, while his brother is in stable condition at a nearby hospital after being shot in the leg, the Press of Atlantic City reported. Police have yet to release the victims’ names, or any information on the shooter’s motives.
The shootings follow years of similar incidents, after crowded stores erupted into violence. On Wednesday, an El Paso, Texas man received probation for his participation in a 2015 Black Friday brawl in a Walmart. In a cell phone video, the man was seen swinging at a police officer, who had come to break up a fight in the packed store. The fight allegedly began after the man stepped on a woman and tried to wrench a television set from her hands.
In another horrific Black Friday incident at Walmart, a worker was trampled to death in 2008, after shoppers stampeded through his Long Island store. The 34-year-old maintenance was killed, and another four people seriously injured after a rush of customers burst down the doors in pursuit of Black Friday deals.