NEW YORK (Reuters) – A man working for Wal-Mart was killed on Friday when a throng of shoppers surged into a Long Island, New York, store and physically broke down the doors, a police spokesman said.
The 34-year-old man was at the entrance of the Valley Stream Walmart store just after it opened at 5 a.m. local time and was knocked to the ground, the police report said.
The exact cause of death was still to be determined by a medical examiner.
Four shoppers, including a 28-year-old pregnant woman, were also taken to local hospitals for injuries sustained in the incident, police said.
Wal-Mart said it was saddened by the death of the man, who was working for a temporary employment agency serving the discount retailer, and by the injuries suffered by shoppers.
“The safety and security of our customers and associates is our top priority,” the world’s largest retailer said in a statement. It said the incident was still under investigation and referred any other inquiries to local police.
The Friday after America’s Thanksgiving holiday is known a Black Friday and marks what is traditionally the busiest retail day of the year, kicking off the Christmas shopping season.
U.S. stores across the country opened in the early hours of Friday to offer discounts to consumers hit by a contracting economy. Hundreds of shoppers waited on line before dawn at some locations to secure deals on holiday gifts.