Suspect in Walmart Pepper-Spraying Incident to File Suit

Services and ShoppingEntertainmentGamingCrime, Law and JusticeWalmartGaming IndustryXbox

PORTER RANCH, Calif. (KTLA) -- The woman who doused fellow shoppers with pepper spray at a Porter Ranch Walmart on Black Friday may sue the store.

Elizabeth Macias, 32, says she used the pepper spray only because the store didn't provide enough security and her two kids were getting roughed up trying to grab Xbox consoles.

The District Attorney's office has decided not to file charges against Macias, but she could still face misdemeanor charges.

Elizabeth Macias, a San Fernando Valley resident, has not been arrested as detectives continue to review video of the incident and interview witnesses.

It happened around 10:10 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day at the Wal-Mart on Rinaldi Street near Corbin Avenue, just minutes after Walmart's Black Friday sales started.

Authorities say it was unclear exactly what sparked the confrontation, but it appeared to be a case of "competitive shopping."

One witness said screams erupted after about 100 people waiting in line to snag Xbox gaming consoles and Wii video games got into a shoving match.

YouTube video taken inside the store shows a crowd of anxious customers trying to get to the merchandise.

LAPD Detective Michael Fesperman says Macias, caught in the rush for video-game consoles, may have feared for her life.

"There was a stampede at Walmart from people getting Xbox games for half off," he said.

"There was no control. People were getting stampeded and trampled. There were people screaming, yelling that they were being trampled or crushed. This woman may have fired her pepper spray in self-defense," Fesperman said.

At least 20 customers were treated outside for minor injuries, including skin and eye irritation, according to fire officials.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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