Jdimypai Damour began the day working part-time at a Wal-Mart mega-store in Valley Stream, New York. His job was to stand by the entrance doors - marked with a sign saying "BLITZ LINE STARTS HERE" - as the crush of early-morning holiday bargain-hunters began their frenzied Black Friday shopping.
Damour never made it home alive. The 34-year-old man from Queens, New York was crushed to death, a victim of a massive stampede of people pouring into Wal-Mart. One detective described the scene to CNN, calling it “utter chaos as these men tried to open the door this morning.”
Police officers who arrived to tend to Damour reportedly couldn’t even break through the mob to get to Damour. As the man lay dying on the ground, men and women continued to trample over him, fixed on gifts and deals, seemingly ignoring his plight or refusing to help.
In a statement, Wal-Mart said, "We are saddened to report that a gentleman who was working for a temporary agency on our behalf died at the store and a few other customers were injured. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families at this difficult time."
A video camera caught pictures of the police trying to rescue Damour with CPR. Please be cautious: the video can be disturbing.
Damour's death is tragic. He was an innocent man. But was a crime committed? A law broken? Authorities investigating this disturbing story have not filed any charges at this point. One officer told the New York Times that Wal-Mart “could have done more.”
What do you think?
Security analyst & former military intelligence officer
Many reports from Mumbai cite gunfire and "grenade" explosions coming from the 5-Star Taj Mahal hotel, the scene of previous terrorist attacks.
It is very possible the gunfire and explosions are actually "room clearing" tactics used by Counter Terrorism forces as they clear rooms.
The tactic of choice is to use what's known as a Flash Bang Simulator, which creates a loud, explosive shock wave, enabling the CT forces to enter a room dynamically, gain a tactical advantage, and overwhelm anyone barracaded inside.
NYU Center on Law and Security
India’s commercial and cultural capital has been witnessing a terrorist attack whose ambition and scope has led seasoned observers to call it “India’s 9/11″. But just who was responsible? Shortly after the attacks started, several Indian newspapers reported receiving messages from an unknown group calling itself “Deccan Mujahedeen” and claiming responsibility for the attacks. Could this unknown group be responsible? The answer is almost certainly no.
The nature of the attack – something akin to scores of heavily armed terrorists storming the Waldorf Astoria and Ritz Carlton in New York City and then going on a shooting rampage through Times Square and the Upper East side – suggests months of painstaking logistical and operational planning. Only an established militant group would have had the ability to carry out such an attack. The Deccan Mujahedeen is not such a group.
If capability and track record are anything to go by, it is likely that the attack was either carried out by Indian Mujahedeen, an indigenous Indian militant group or a Kashmiri militant group with ties to al-Qaida such as Lashkar e Toiba, or some combination of the two.
Indian Mujahedeen first emerged as a terrorist threat in India exactly a year ago when it launched attacks in the north of India. Since then it has carried out about a half dozen attacks across the country, most recently launching an attack on a market place in New Delhi in September. Its signature tactic has been to set off multiple explosive devices simultaneously in crowded public spaces such as market places and buses. Hundreds have died in these attacks. Indian Mujahedeen has not to date carried out the sort of brazen armed attack seen in Mumbai in the last days. But it does appear to have had some access in the past to RDX, a military high explosive, which has reportedly now been discovered in Mumbai. On September 23 Mumbai police arrested five suspected Indian Mujahideen leaders in the Mumbai area and found a quantity of RDX in their possession. Also found in their possession was a large amount of ammunition, including ammonium nitrate rods, detonators and sub machine guns.
Program note: See Sara Sidner's full report during special CNN coverage of the Mumbai attacks, tonight, 7-9p ET.
SARA SIDNER, CNN Correspondent: I'm just getting a text message from four Americans who have been inside this hotel from Chicago who we have been talking to throughout this 42 or 43-hour ordeal now. They have apparently been taken out. They have made it out and they are well.
The family is writing me, and they are very happy. And so, we should say that that group of four people who are calling and saying we're running out of water - sorry, they made it out and so the family is very happy.
CAROL COSTELLO, American Morning Contributor: Oh, you're so emotional about this. You've established a relationship with the family in Chicago then and have been texting them often, right?
SIDNER: Yes. Over the past few hours, I text them "are you OK," because I heard all of the loud bangs. As I was coming from my hotel, I had taken down for a few hours and was feeling quite guilty that I wasn't out here watching the situation. And when I got back, I got a text from one of their family members in Chicago saying we have gotten a text from them. They say they are out. They've been led out, and they are safe. Just a few moments ago, I got a text saying, "We are safe."
Read more about how Sara Sidner stayed in contact with the Mackoff family while they were trapped in the Taj Mahal hotel for 48 hours during the Mumbai attacks.
Program note: See Peter Bergen's full report during special CNN coverage of the Mumbai attacks, tonight, 7-9p ET.
CNN National Security Analyst
It was an al Qaeda-influenced attack with western targets, British targets, American targets, Jewish targets, multiple coordinated attacks. In terms of who could have done this, according to U.S. counterterrorism officials that I've been speaking with recently, they don't think that this could be just simply a local indigenous group.
We have seen numerous terrorist attacks in India, of course, and in Bombay. But some of the attacks in Bombay - one of the counterterrorism officials I talked to pointed to the '93 attack in Bombay which killed 250 people, multiple attacks, was coordinated according to the U.S. government by a guy called Daoud Ebraham (ph). Now Daoud Ebraham (ph) is an Indian gangster with strong links to Pakistan.
He's believed to be living in Karachi right now, Karachi, Pakistan, the large port city where it is possible that the ship came from that delivered the terrorists, so that's one angle I'm sure investigators are going to be looking at. A significant Kashmir militant group conducted a similar operation to what we've seen in Bombay against the Indian Parliament back in December of 2001 where numerous gunmen was sent into the Parliament on a de facto suicide mission, shot up the Parliament. It nearly brought India and Pakistan to war in 2002, perhaps the intent again with these recent attacks to kind of inflame tensions between these two long-time rivals.
CNN Business News Producer
Stocks were up again today – the Dow jumped another 102 points. They’re on their best winning streak since April, posting a fifth straight gain in a row.
Gas prices fell again, about a penny to a national average of $1.84 a gallon. That’s the 72nd consecutive decrease. AAA says the last time the national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was near the current price was January 21, 2005, when the average was $1.835. Seven states have regular unleaded gas prices of $2 and higher; 43 states have prices below $2.
Crude was down about $1 this morning, around $53 a barrel, as a gloomy outlook for global crude demand overshadowed hopes OPEC will announce a production at an informal meeting Saturday in Cairo. Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez on Wednesday called on OPEC to cut production by 1 million barrels a day.
We’ll be looking at what a potential production cut by OPEC may mean for oil and gasoline prices.
Program note: Watch an interview with the Scotts' son, Jonathan Macoff, tonight during special CNN coverage of the Mumbai attacks. Tonight, 7-9p ET.
This report first aired on CNN-IBN and CNN Newsroom. Below is a rough transcript of an interview with two American survivors of the Mumbai attacks.
CNN-IBN Reporter: The story of every survivor we have met today is really the same, Indian or foreigner that kept us on tenterhooks that survived today. I'm being joined by Patricia and Bruce - I think they look safe all, they're continuing to stay here in India.
PATRICIA SCOTT, SURVIVOR ON MUMBAI SIEGE: Yes, of course, of course. It was the only phone we had. The battery was running down. The phones in the hotel, the TV wasn't working, the lights were hardly working. They had re-invented our tour and we're not going home. We are not going to let the terrorists win there and ruin every thing.
BRUCE SCOTT, SURVIVOR ON MUMBAI SIEGE: We heard some noise outside. We didn't see or hear anybody, we didn't see terrorists but when I looked through I saw what looked like police. They were wearing armor, and a body armor, they had weapons. So I kind of tapped on the door and made a little, hello, I'm in here. I was afraid if I ran in the hall, they might think I was a bad guy. So we were very careful about that. They came in, they checked our credentials and they looked at our passport, they made sure the room was clean and they brought us out. They brought us down the 17 floors and we're here to tell the story and thank God.
The terrorists who killed so many innocent humans in India are thugs. They are not any smarter, any better, any more noble, or any more thoughtful than the thugs who murder people during bank robberies in Miami, convenience store hold-ups in Los Angeles, or carjackings in Chicago.
There's a tendency among some to marvel at how "well coordinated" an attack like this India one was. Well, don't marvel. If you no longer held a real job, were given bucket loads of money, and had a multitude of time on your hands, you too could "well coordinate" such a plan.
Fortunately, most people have consciences. Let's not allow society to romanticize and marvel over the planning of terrorists' soulless and monstorous escapades.
They are no different from your average street thug.
CNN Senior National editor
Some people have been puzzled or surprised that a Jewish Center, called a Chabad house, was attacked in Mumbai. It's true that the Jewish population in India numbers just a few thousand - in a country of billions. But Jews have a long history in India, maybe 2,500 years; and some say they are descended from one of the 10 lost tribes of Israel.
Most of India's Jews live in Mumbai, making it a natural place to find Chabad, a movement within Orthodox Judaism that sends emissaries world-wide from its headquarters in the Crown Heights section of New York City.
Mumbai also is a center of international business and a city frequented by young Israelis, who set off to see the world after completing their military service obligation and before entering university. Chabad is even big in Katmandu.
Chabad is an acronym of the Jewish words for wisdom, understanding and knowledge. Though rooted in the oldest of Jewish beliefs, Chabad also spreads its message online at http://www.chabad.org. And if you'd like to know more, a good read about Chabad is "The Rebbe's Army" by Sue Fishkoff.
Watch Nic Robertson's report on the stand-off at a Chabad in Mumbai.