NEW YORK (AP) — A worker was killed in the crush Friday after a throng of shoppers eager for post-Thanksgiving bargains burst through the doors at a suburban Wal-Mart, authorities said.
At least four other people were injured, and the store in Valley Stream on Long Island was closed.
Wal-MartStores Inc. in Bentonville, Ark., called the incident a "tragicsituation" and said the employee came from a temporary agency and wasdoing maintenance work at the store.
"He was bum-rushed by 200people," co-worker Jimmy Overby, 43, told the Daily News. "They tookthe doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me.They took me down too. ... I literally had to fight people off my back."
NassauCounty police said the 34-year-old worker was taken to a hospital wherehe was pronounced dead at about 6 a.m. The man's name was not releasedand the cause of death was not immediately known.
A policestatement said shortly after the store's 5 a.m. opening time, shoppers" physically broke down the doors, knocking (the worker) to the ground."
A metal portion of the door was crumpled like an accordion.
Shoppersaround the country lined up early outside stores in the annual bargainhunting ritual known as Black Friday. Many stores open early and stayopen late, and some of the most dramatic bargains are available inlimited quantities.
Among the bargains offered by Wal-Mart for Friday were Samsung 50-inch high definition Plasma TVs for less than $800.
Witnessestold the Daily News that before the store was closed, eager shoppersstreamed past emergency crews as they worked furiously to save theworker's life.
"They were working on him, but you could see he was dead," said Halcyon Alexander, 29. "People were still coming through."
A28-year-old pregnant woman was taken to a hospital for observation, andshe and the unborn baby were both reported to be OK, said Sgt. AnthonyRepalone, a Nassau County police spokesman. Four or five other peoplesuffered minor injuries, he said.
Ellen Davis, a spokeswoman atNational Retail Federation, said the group knew of no other incidentwhere a retail employee has died working on the day after Thanksgiving.
Wal-Mart is working closely with police, company spokesman Dan Fogleman said.
"Thesafety and security of our customers and associates is our toppriority," Fogleman said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with them andtheir families at this difficult time."