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Wal-Mart worker dies after stampede in N.Y.

November 29, 2008|Tiffany Hsu | Hsu is a Times staff writer.

Friday morning's two shootings in Palm Desert weren't the only violent deaths on Black Friday: Across the country hours earlier, shoppers straining to get into a Wal-Mart in a New York City suburb trampled an employee, police said.

The three fatalities struck a somber note on the day after Thanksgiving, which is traditionally a day of leftovers, football and bargains at the mall.

At 5:03 a.m. Friday, customers surged toward a Long Island Wal-Mart store's entrance.

A 34-year-old temporary employee was killed when a "throng of shoppers . . . physically broke down the doors, knocking him to the ground," according to a statement from Nassau County officials.

He was declared dead at a hospital at 6:03 a.m. The exact cause of death has not been determined.

The surge at the Valley Stream store on Long Island also left three shoppers with minor injuries, and a pregnant 28-year-old woman was taken to a hospital, according to Nassau County officials.

A Wal-Mart statement called the situation tragic. "The safety and security of our customers and associates is our top priority," the company said.

Store managers had expected a large crowd on Black Friday and had requested additional internal and third-party security, more store associates and help from the Nassau police. Barricades were even put up, according to a follow-up statement from Hank Mullany, a senior vice president for the company and president of its northeast division.

"Despite all of our precautions, this unfortunate event occurred," Mullany said.

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tiffany.hsu@latimes.com

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