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Wal-Mart worker dies after shoppers knock him down
By COLLEEN LONG – 41 minutes ago
NEW YORK (AP) — A Wal-Mart worker was killed Friday when "out-of-control" shoppers desperate for bargains broke down the doors at a 5 a.m. sale. Other workers were trampled as they tried to rescue the man, and customers shouted angrily and kept shopping when store officials said they were closing because of the death, police and witnesses said.
At least four other people, including a woman who was eight months pregnant, were taken to hospitals for observation or minor injuries, and the store in Valley Stream on Long Island closed for several hours before reopening.
Shoppers stepped over the man on the ground and streamed into the store. When told to leave, they complained that they had been in line since Thursday morning.
Nassau police said about 2,000 people were gathered outside the store doors at the mall about 20 miles east of Manhattan. The impatient crowd knocked the man, identified by police as Jdimytai Damour of Queens, to the ground as he opened the doors, leaving a metal portion of the frame crumpled like an accordion.
"This crowd was out of control," said Nassau police spokesman Lt. Michael Fleming. He described the scene as "utter chaos."
Dozens of store employees trying to fight their way out to help Damour were also getting trampled by the crowd, Fleming said.
Items on sale at the store 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.
Damour, 34, was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead about 6 a.m., police said. The exact cause of death has not been determined.
A 28-year-old pregnant woman was taken to a hospital, where she and the baby were reported to be OK, said police Sgt. Anthony Repalone.
Police said criminal charges were possible in the case, but Fleming said it would be difficult to identify individual shoppers. Authorities were reviewing surveillance video.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., based in Bentonville, Ark., called the incident a "tragic situation" and said the employee came from a temporary agency and was doing maintenance work at the store.
"The safety and security of our customers and associates is our top priority," said Dan Fogleman, a company spokesman. "At this point, facts are still being assembled and we are working closely with the Nassau County Police as they investigate what occurred."
Kimberly Cribbs, who witnessed the stampede, said shoppers were acting like "savages."
"When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling 'I've been on line since yesterday morning,'" she said. "They kept shopping."
Shoppers around the country line up early outside stores on the day after Thanksgiving in the annual bargain-hunting ritual known as Black Friday. It got that name because it has historically been the day when stores broke into profitability for the full year.
AP retail writers Anne D'Innocenzio and Mae Anderson and contributed to this report.
Michael Lang hired me to work for him about 3 years ago. His company "Brainchild Nutritionals " had been producing vitamins and minerals designed to assist people with autism for a few years prior to my hiring. He was a great friend and the best boss I will ever have. We became acquainted at my old job at the Staff Of Life grocery store . He would come in about once a week to pick up our used packing material. When I saw him it was a given that we would end up talking politics for at least 45 minutes. He was dedicated to truth and justice and his environmental consciousness impressed me. After being fired from the store for scamming free groceries he sought me out to join his company. He was the most generous boss I have ever worked for. He was always concerned with his employees making a living wage and went so far as to give us a week paid vacation in december ,paid sick days, medical and dental insurance and took us all for a 2 day long company retreat that included massages at a pretty swanky place. Besides all that he was just a cool guy who loved to joke around and always had time to soothe an upset parent . After working for the company a while I found out that Michael had developed his supplements to help his two children who had been diagnosed with autism. Some 11 years later there are no noticeable autistic traits visible in them .
Michael was dedicated , hardheaded , loving ,funny and just an all around great guy. After his diagnosis I read a little on pancreatic cancer and was very alarmed at the prognosis. From what I read 95 percent of victims die within 3 to 6 months after diagnosis. This seems to be because the symptoms are very innocuous and easy to dismiss as simple backache and nausea. Because of that by the time it is diagnosed the cancer is very far along. This was the case with Michael.
I spent the last 5 weeks making as many trips to see him as I could. It was very hard to see my friend dying but I wanted to be there for him . I tried to keep a good face and humorous vibe around him and he seemed to appreciate it. What I did for him paled in comparison to his parents and siblings. I feel honored to have witnessed his family drop everything else in their life to be there for him every minute of that time. His parents amazed me .They filled his time with overflowing love and I know it was the hardest time of their life. No one should see their children die and the strength and love they exhibited humbled me.
At this point my coworkers and I are assuming the daunting task of running this company that helps thousands of children. I am completely overwhelmed but committed to continuing Michael's work .BrainChild will continue as it always has, in Michael's memory.
A fund has been set up for Michael's children. Please send any donations to the Michael Lang Children's Fund, account number
048274377, c/o Bank of the West, 2020 North Pacific Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95062.
I haven't been djing much lately due to reasons I don't want to get into but last night I played in the side room of The Blue Lagoon here in Santa Cruz. Usually this scenario is not one I get real excited for but this night turned out different. For some reason things seemed to flow so well it felt like it was out of my hands. Earlier in the day I had spent some time digging through my records to find something different to play because I couldn't afford new tracks and the ones in my bag were getting stale. As I picked through I started to realize I have quite a few timeless classics that usually stayed buried in my stacks. So I did my best to pull out a few to spice up my set.
As I arrived for my early 11:00 set I wasn't surprised to see there were about 4 people on the floor. Bog ( who sets the sound up and dj's) had recently upgraded the mixer and It was really sounding good to me. As the night progressed the old tracks had me dancing behind the decks and I realized the size and energy of the crowd was slowly building. Between the crowd energy ,the new sound and the classic tracks 45 minutes into my set it seemed the records were spinning themselves. As I finshed the floor had swelled to about 30 people (which is alot for that small of a room) but more importantly the dancing energy was awesome. There is something about getting total strangers (and a few friends) to lose it on the dancefloor that gets me higher than almost anything. At the end Bog came up and gave me a sweaty hug and a compliment which I won't repeat here but will always remember.. Good times still happen and I'm still smiling.
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