Black Friday meant injury and arrests for rabid bargain hunters as the nation kicked off the annual shopping season amidst a frenzy for marked-down television sets, cookware, and other deeply discounted bargains.
Reports of fights among shoppers rolled in from across the country, reports CNN
, and included one fight over a parking space that left one man stabbed and two arrested at a Claypool, Va., Wal-Mart.
According to the Tazewell County, Va., sheriff's department, Ronnie Sharp, 61, and Christopher Jackson, 35, were arrested Thursday night after Sharp allegedly threatened Jackson with a rifle and a knife. Jackson had gotten a severe cut on his arm, and both men were put in jail.
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Police in Rialto, Calif., said an officer broke his wrist and a finger trying to break up a fight in a Wal-Mart parking lot, reports the San Bernardino Su
n. One man, Raymond Rice, 25, ended up being charged with felony assault and assault on a police officer, while one of his relatives, Chennel Smith, was arrested after jumping into the melee.
But Bill Simon, CEO of Wal-Mart's U.S. operations, said the Black Friday and Thanksgiving sales attracted in millions of shoppers, and actually, problems are down because of a new policy that guarantees shoppers who showed up in the first hour the ability to buy the 21 hottest sales items, such as a 32-inch television on sale for slightly under $100.
"By and large there were a few small incidents but we were really really pleased with how the event went last night," he said on CNN's New Day morning show Friday. "Any time you get more than 22 million people together, you get some behavior people aren't proud of."
The violence wasn't only limited to squabbles over Rachel Ray cookware sets, which made YouTube video lists
Friday, but extended into communities as well.
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Las Vegas Police said Friday that thief shot a shopper
carrying home a big-screen TV home from a Target store Thursday night. Police said the victim, while carrying the TV at an apartment complex near the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, dropped it when someone fired warning shots.
The robber snatched the television and tried to put it in a car and shot the victim in the leg when he tried to snatch back his new television. The thief wasn't caught, and the shopper's injuries weren't considered serious, police said.
The fighting isn't just confined to the United States, NPR said. In Northern Ireland, one person was injured as shoppers rushed in to get their hands on Black Friday sales at the British supermarket chain Asda, which is owned by Wal-Mart. Like its American counterpart, Asda also had about two dozen 32-inch TVs on sale.
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