Hours after gathering with family and friends for turkey and football on Thanksgiving, Americans across the country hit shopping centers, malls and superstores for Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year and one of the most crucial for retailers — but once again, the day was marred by scattered reports of violence and mayhem at stores nationwide.
Two men were shot, one fatally, outside a Macy’s store at the Hamilton Mall in southern New Jersey early Friday morning, according to CBS Philadelphia. A 20-year-old Atlantic City man died after being shot multiple times, while his 26-year-old brother was reportedly shot in the leg.
It was not immediately clear what caused the shooting. Authorities had not yet identified a suspect as of Friday morning. According to the New York Post, the Macy’s store opened as scheduled at 6 a.m.
In Nevada, a 33-year-old man was shot and killed Thursday evening in the parking lot of a Reno Walmart. Local law enforcement told ABC affiliate KOLO that the shooting was believed to have stemmed from an altercation over a parking spot.
Another man was reported to have been shot and injured late Thursday night outside the Wolfchase Galleria in Memphis, Tennessee. A suspect was reported to have fired multiple shots in the parking lot before driving off in a red Mustang, according to local CBS affiliate WREG. Three people have been taken into custody.
Meanwhile, som3 eager bargain hunters brawled openly in malls and store aisles, with some of the fights captured on video and posted to social media.
Twitter user Frankryan posted a video of what appeared to be a fight at a mall in Modesto, California.
Welcome to the Modesto mall… pic.twitter.com/IWWfMJh5lj
— Frankryan (@FrankryanM) November 25, 2016
At least a half-dozen shoppers could be seen punching and kicking each other in the video while terrified onlookers attempted to keep their distance.
A video purported to have been shot at a Walmart in Bainbridge, Georgia saw shoppers rushing to grab deeply discounted towels and place them in their carts.
In Chicago, hundreds of demonstrators took to the retail-heavy Magnificent Mile Friday morning to protest Black Friday for the second consecutive year. The protest, organized by groups including the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, was put on to demonstrate against the city’s recent implementation of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The paper noted this year’s protest was smaller.
— Chip Mitchell (@ChipMitchell1) November 25, 2016
More scenes from the Black Friday protest along the Mag Mile. pic.twitter.com/HKTqbwAKud
— Kelly Bauer (@BauerJournalism) November 25, 2016
Adobe Digital Index reported Friday that online shoppers had spent roughly $1.15 billion and were on track to spend close to $2 billion on Thanksgiving alone, an increase of 14 percent over last year, according to CNBC. The National Retail Federation expects holiday sales to increase 3.6 percent, to $655.8 billion, through November and December.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum