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Black Friday melee on video at Georgia Wal-Mart, trampling in Texas

November 23, 2012|By Joseph Serna

A frightening-looking melee broke out at a Georgia Wal-Mart when shoppers rushed cases of cellphones that offered pre-paid, unlimited usage plans.

A video of the Thursday night scene (below) posted on YouTube shows a mob of customers at the Moultrie store pushing toward a display of cellphone boxes, their words drowned out over an unintelligible chorus of shouts. At one point, a man shoves his hand over a woman’s mouth as she begins to back away from the area and the woman appears to bite his hand in response.

Another man, who managed to grab one of the coveted items, waves it in the air only to have it ripped away by another customer a couple feet away. People clawed through the display’s plastic wrapping while others reached over the people in front of them, grabbing shoulders and pulling their competition backward.

Others managed to grab a phone and get out, only by clutching it tightly with both arms against their chest and barreling through the pushing crowd.

About 45 seconds into the video, a siren can be heard and store employees attempt to calm the fracas, trying to pull back customers and restore order.

Wal-Mart officials told the Associated Press the melee was an isolated incident and no one was arrested or asked to leave.

The chaos continued Friday morning in Texas, where San Antonio police rushed to the South Park Mall after receiving reports of a man brandishing a gun.

About 9 a.m., customers at the mall began dialing 9-1-1 after a customer pulled a gun during a confrontation with another shopper.

“There was a little bit of chaos when the gun was pulled out,” said San Antonio Police officer Matthew Porter.

According to police, two customers had been exchanging heated words since 6 a.m. as both families waited in line to enter Sears.

By 9 a.m., it had apparently reached a breaking point. A 35-year-old father there with his family punched another customer in the face. The 33-year-old man who was punched and was also waiting with his family pulled out a gun.

Police said he had a permit to carry a concealed weapon and did not point the gun at anyone. He only displayed it and kept it pointed at the ground.

But the gun panicked the crowd, who scattered. One customer was knocked to the ground and was trampled by other customers. That person was treated at the scene by paramedics, Porter said.

The man who threw the punch fled the scene, leaving his family behind. Police said he could be arrested for assault. The man who pulled the gun will likely not be charged.

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