Sought: Wal-Mart Shoppers Who Trampled NY Worker

Police are reviewing surveillance videos of a post-Thanksgiving shopper stampede that trampled a suburban Wal-Mart worker to death, but they acknowledge it may be difficult to bring criminal charges.

Nassau County police and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said no new information was available Saturday on the employee's brutal death, which rattled shoppers even as they flocked to the Valley Stream store a day later.

"It felt a little freakish," customer Ellie Berhun, 48, told the Daily News. "Some man lost his life because a VCR was on sale? Please. It's just too sad for words."

Police said the temporary worker, Jdimytai Damour, was mowed down as about 2,000 bargain-hunters surged into the store at Friday's 5 a.m. opening, leaving a metal portion of the door frame crumpled like an accordion.

Other workers were knocked to the ground as they tried to rescue Damour, and customers simply stepped over him and kept shopping even as the store announced it was closing because of the death, police and witnesses said.

At least four other people, including a woman eight months pregnant, were taken to hospitals for observation or treatment for minor injuries. The store, about 20 miles east of Manhattan, closed for several hours but reopened Friday afternoon.

The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday because it has traditionally marked the point when a throng of shoppers pushes stores into profitability for the year.

Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart said it added staffers and outside security workers and put up barricades to try to prepare for the crush. But police spokesman Detective Lt. Michael Fleming said Friday that security was inadequate for a scene he called "utter chaos."

Criminal charges are possible, but identifying anyone in the store's videos may prove difficult, Fleming said.

Damour, 34, came from a temporary agency and was doing maintenance work at the store, Wal-Mart said.

A woman reported being trampled by overeager customers at a Wal-Mart opening Friday in Farmingdale, about 15 miles east of Valley Stream, Suffolk County police said. She suffered minor injuries but finished shopping before filling the report, police said.

Items on sale at the Valley Stream Wal-Mart included a Samsung 50-inch Plasma HDTV for $798, a Bissel Compact Upright Vacuum for $28, a Samsung 10.2 megapixel digital camera for $69 and DVDs such as "The Incredible Hulk" for $9.

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  • by Sam Location: Williamston on Dec 3, 2008 at 07:48 AM
    I will also say, I will pay somebody to do all the christmas shopping for me while I go hunting in the stand or shoot some ducks from my boat. I just hate shopping in general.
  • by Sam Location: Williamston on Dec 3, 2008 at 07:46 AM
    To mom who went to Williamston Wal-Mart, one thing you got to realize is that it takes more than Martin County to support that Wal-Mart. You got people in Bertie, Plymouth, and probably even around Columbia and Hyde County who might come here, and it still only gets about 25 % of the business and crowds that the one in Greenville gets, and Williamston still has a bigger Wal-Mart than Greenville, Washington, and Tarboro, even though it has way less people. We are just very lucky that we have that open space.
  • by mom Location: nc on Dec 3, 2008 at 06:39 AM
    I went to Wal Mart in Williamston @ 9:30 Friday morning, and I STILL got everything i was looking for. It's a scam to get the public in the stores at that hour. I worked in it for 9 years, I know how it is. The retailers have to make a certain amount per hour, or the employees get sent home. I know because it has happened to me several times. Thank GOD i got out of it when I did. Now I can sit back and look at the others who are in it. After January retailers will lay off 45% of their work force, and we'll be right back in the swing of things again. With gas going BACK up, it's not going to be good.
  • by jtmckw Location: nc on Dec 3, 2008 at 06:34 AM
    I'm sure that the people know if they stepped on this man or not. I know 2 people who were actually in line at the back and they said there was NOT 2000 people there, maybe at best a few hundred.My how things get exaggerated. It will really surprise me if anyone comes forward and admits that they stepped on the employee, even though it would be the decent thing to do.
  • by Dwayne Location: Greenville on Dec 3, 2008 at 06:31 AM
    After 911 the lines to get in were at church. It's rather self incriminating that while other less fortunate nations have lines for basic food; the lines in the US are for GPS's, concerts, and other non essential products. The fact that we are willing for someone to lose their life so individuals can get the "best deal" is a mirror that our nation should look in.
  • by Not Me! Location: Kinston on Dec 2, 2008 at 07:16 AM
    Walmart is at fault here. They lure shoppers to their stores for these sales, tell them supplies are limited and it's first come, first serve. It's a marketing strategy Walmart and other stores use, but it's also causing bodily harm and even death. The stores are, in a sense, promoting this type of behavior to occur. I just don't think any sale is worth the loss of life. We're living in a much different world these days. It's dangerous enough as it is. I think "Black Friday" should be outlawed. It's just not worth it. These stores will be faced with law suits now and guess who they'll pass the cost along to? So much for those so called "bargins" on Black Friday, huh?
  • by Cat Location: Gboro on Dec 2, 2008 at 06:47 AM
    LOL @ Daryl Turner! Thats a good point! I can't believe that they announced that the store was closing due to a death, and people just kept right on shopping! Thats border-line morbid! I don't think that I could continue shopping knowing that I might have contributed to the death of somebody! That is just ridiculous. Even if I know I had no choice but to continue with the mob, that wouldn't change the fact that I had a part in it. But then, I have a conscience that doesn't falter due to a good sale. On-line shopping, people! On-line shopping!
  • by Lee Location: New Bern on Dec 1, 2008 at 09:14 PM
    Standing out all night in the cold just to be able to buy an inexpensive camera or TV is very disturbing and bizarre behavior. I think that the stores should stop promoting this situation by not having special sales early on the day after Thanksgiving. Stores are partly to blame for creating the hysteria for these items. People are also to blame for going along with it and then turning into dangerous mobs as a result.
  • by ME Location: Chocowinity on Dec 1, 2008 at 04:27 PM
    Why is it difficult to charge the people?? Post their faces on the news and charge them. What about this man and is family?? They should get JUSTICE!! Even at Walmart in Washington, NC, some people were outraged!! I went shopping with my mother, and 4 young immature people decided to cause a scene and thought we skipped them in line, when in fact they were at least 10 feet from the line with noone in front of them. They totally disrespected my mom!! All I have to say....WHAT IS THIS WORLD COMING TO? Maybe we should do away with Black Friday in stores, and perhaps only do these promotions online!!!!
  • by Daryl Turner Location: Pink Hill on Dec 1, 2008 at 03:45 PM
    Does rushing into a Walmart on a black friday sale make as much sense as rushing onto a football field after an ECU game?
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