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Wal-Mart worker dies in stampede

By Colleen Long
Associated Press / November 29, 2008
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NEW YORK - A Wal-Mart worker was killed yesterday after an "out of control" throng of shoppers eager for post-Thanksgiving bargains broke down the doors at a suburban store and knocked him to the ground, police said.

Other workers were trampled as they tried to rescue the man, and customers stepped over him and became irate when officials said the store was 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. It reopened shortly after 1 p.m.

Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. called the incident a "tragic situation" and said it had tried to prepare for the crowd by adding staffers and outside security workers, putting up barricades and consulting police.

"Despite all of our precautions, this unfortunate event occurred," senior vice president Hank Mullany said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those impacted."

Meanwhile, in Palm Dessert, Calif., two people were shot to death in a crowded toy store yesterday in a confrontation apparently involving rival groups, city officials said. Palm Desert Councilman Jim Ferguson said police told him two men with handguns shot and killed each other.

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