Black Friday crime isn’t a new phenomena and neither are crowds of Black Friday shoppers getting caught up in it. On Thurs., Nov. 24 after dining over a Thanksgiving dinner feast at their respective homes, shoppers went in search of early Black Friday sales deals. But they got a lot more than they bargained for at a Walmart in the Los Angeles area.
One woman used pepper spray in order to get an edge on her shopping competitors for some electronics deals at the store, injuring as many as 20 other shoppers when she did, including children. Fox News reported that police are still looking for the spray shooter who left the scene before authorities could apprehend her.
It is assumed the pepper sprayer got away with the xbox game console or Wii video games that drew her to that particular part of the store, which the LA Times reported is where the incident occurred in the San Fernando Valley store.
But Los Angeles Fire Capt. James Carson said the woman actually used the pepper spray in strategic attacks throughout the store, gaining the upper hand more than once in her Black Friday sale pursuits.
Pepper sprays come in many different sized and shaped containers and varies in strength and cost. Oleoresin capsicum (OC), the ingredient that makes pepper spray so powerful, is found in the cayenne pepper plant. When it is extracted as an oil, as it is for pepper spray forumaltion, the following symptoms can result to those sprayed with it:
- Blood pressure rise
- Eye irritation
- Mucous membrane irritation
- Shortness of breath
- Skin irritation
- Temporary blindness of the eyes
- Upper respiratory irritation
- Potential death
The Walmart shopper could have used an aerosol, liquid or foam pepper spray product and it could have contained an OC concentration ranging from 1 to 10 percent in potency. Pre-existing health conditions of the victims who were sprayed — as well as body weight and size, and the amount, type and strength of the spray released — would play a role in the symptoms experienced as a result of the unexpected spraying. Most victims complained of sore throats, coughing and watering up.
Georgia law enforcement officers and jail workers in many departments across the state must undergo pepper spray training as well as experience being pepper sprayed personally before they are certified for work purposes.
References: Justice Dept., LA Times and Fox News