Authorities in Northern California say a Black Friday shopper is in critical but stable condition after being shot by armed robbers outside a Walmart superstore. The shooting was one of a number of violent incidents that took place around the country this Black Friday.
Sgt. Mike Sobek of the San Leandro police said the victim and his family were walking to their car around 1:45 a.m. when they were confronted by a group of men who demanded their purchases. When the family refused, a fight broke out and one of the robbers shot the man.
Afterward, family members chased down one of the suspects and held him down until he could be taken into police custody.
Investigators are reviewing store surveillance video to identify at least three other suspects.
"It appears to be a crime of opportunity," Sobek told the Bay City News Service. "The suspects were trolling around the parking lot in a vehicle." Police did not provide a description of the robbers or of the getaway vehicle.
"We're still in the process of interviewing the one suspect in custody, as well as witnesses," Sobek said. "We're still trying to determine all the details."
Witnesses said the Walmart parking lot was crowded with Black Friday shoppers at the time. The store closed briefly while police investigated.
The San Leandro shooting isn't the only violent incident to take place on Black Friday. Along with some incidents in Arizona and South Carolina, reports of a woman in a Porter Ranch Wal-Mart using pepper spray to ward off shopping competition have spread on news stations and the internet.
Wal-Mart spokesman Greg Rossiter told the AP that while Black Friday was safe at most of its nearly 4,000 U.S. locations, there had been "a few unfortunate incidents."
The incidents have been attributed to two converging Black Friday trends: Crowds are getting bigger as stores open earlier and stay open later. At the same time, cash-strapped shoppers are competing for deals on a small number of gifts that everybody wants — tablet computers, TVs and game consoles like Xbox, Nintendo 3S and Wii.
Holiday shoppers were back at the San Leandro Wal-Mart by late morning, circling the lot, looking for scarce parking spots. One was Yolanda Lopez, a San Lorenzo mother of two, who told the San Jose Mercury News, "I was going to come to this Walmart at 1 a.m., but my husband wouldn't let me[...] He said, 'I don't want you to go there and get hurt.'"