Pepper spray used on crowd waiting to buy sneakers at Hulen Mall

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by MARCUS MOORE and MARJORIE OWENS

Bio | Email | Follow: @MarcusMoorewfaa

WFAA

Posted on December 21, 2012 at 9:18 AM

Updated Saturday, Dec 22 at 9:27 AM

FORT WORTH - A crowd waiting to buy sneakers outside Hulen Mall early Friday morning was doused with pepper spray after authorities received reports of fighting at the scene in Fort Worth.

"People got hit with night sticks, it was really crazy," said shoppper Julio Lomeli. "You couldn't go anywhere, you would be squished in, stepped on. "

Police were called to the mall as a group of shoppers waiting to buy a pair of Nike Air Jordan Retro 11 shoes grew outside. Authorities received reports that the crowd of about 350 to 400 shoppers was "getting out of control" and that several physical fights had broken out.

Upon arriving at the scene, several officers went to the front of the crowd, standing between the doors of the mall and the crowd. At one point, one of the officers yelled out a few words before dousing the shoppers with pepper spray. At least two people were treated at the scene

The shoes, which sell for $185, went on sale for the first day Friday, spurring the long lines. Several stores inside the mall were selling the retro Air Jordans, which some shoppers said sold out in adult sizes not long after the mall opened.

Only one store selling the shoes did not use a voucher system, which led to the mad dash of shoppers.

"There are too many people out here, first of all," said shopper Jakeyia Strider. "Now they have pepper spray, they have everything. This is not cool, for real."

The crowd began to form around 5 a.m., hours before the mall opened at 8 a.m.

Any officer that used pepper spray will be subjected to a use of force review, which is routine with the Fort Worth Police Department.

No arrests were made.

A similar incident was reported in Huntsville, Alabama, where police also used pepper spray Thursday on a crowd of about 100 waiting to get one of 35 wristbands that would allow them to purchase the Air Jordan shoes Friday.

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