November 28th, 2008
08:57 PM ET

Trampled to death in a Wal-Mart stampede

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/US/11/28/black.friday.violence/art.walmart.ny.jpg
caption="A Wal-Mart employee at this Long Island location was killed in a rush early Friday morning."]
Gabriel Falcon
AC360 Writer

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?

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. concern/denver Colorado

    I really place the blame on the store it self ..they could look out and seee how many people were there and should have sent more than one person to the door ..or at least ask the people from the speaker to step back ...the store is reasonable for every employee ..and even the people in the front would not have been able to hold back a group that large ...wal-mart should have had more security ...

    November 30, 2008 at 8:59 pm |
  2. sns

    They should use the tape to arrest every last person who trammpled this man. It's unbelieveable that people would continue to walk on top of a human being even as he lays dying below them for what, to go shopping. Everyone who was involved should have nightmares for the rest of their life.

    November 30, 2008 at 8:31 pm |
  3. shahram mohtashem

    what is wrong with people today.is getting a tv or ipod or anything worth walking over any one.we are so quick to call people from developing countries uncivilized but we call ourselves civilized

    November 30, 2008 at 6:40 pm |
  4. Joanne

    Wal-Mart holds 90% of the blame in this. There should have been several police officers present, in addition to trained security, & strictly enforced lines with only 100 or so shoppers admitted at any one time. This was a disaster waiting to happen. I was shocked by the headline, but reading the story, I guess it's surprising there weren't more tragedies like this one. Once people started to fall on this man, other people probably stepped on them, so in the confusion I doubt the majority of the people knew what was happening. Once they did, there was no excuse for not stopping or attempting to help. That is a criminal act, & one they'll answer to God for if the state is unable to hold them accountable. Next year, I'd like to see the store managers & Wal-Mart executives open the doors. I think things would be handled differently if they did.

    By the way, I'm Canadian & I like to shop at Wal-Marts here, but not in the U.S.. The stores here are cleaner & the atmosphere nicer. In both countries the workers are paid minimum wage, but in the U.S. it's obvious that Wal-Mart takes advantage of a struggling segment of the population. Most of the workers are minorities & because of the lack of universal health care & Wal-Mart's sickly health benefits, a lot of them don't look well, as though they haven't seen a doctor in years. You can tell a lot about a company by the way it treats its employees. I guess Friday's tragedy is yet another black mark against a company that could afford to be compassionate & caring towards the people who build their business, but choses not to.

    November 30, 2008 at 6:37 pm |
  5. Arthur Pliaconis

    Abominable! This is utterly disgusting. A tragedy for the man and his family and an embarrasment to us all. Those people responsible for this, the ones who showed complete disregard for human life and concern only for themselves and their own greed, should be ashamed and prosecuted, every single one of them! And for what? I hope they got the discount on their crap! My heart goes out to the family.

    November 30, 2008 at 6:34 pm |
  6. Vickie MO.

    A person is responcible for his/her action's. Whether, in a car, etc! The thought of this man losing his life, because of the action's of greedy shopper's. I can't think of one single item that any store in this world might have that, I would value more than a human life! Someone needs to represent this man.................

    November 30, 2008 at 6:27 pm |
  7. John Hash, Germantown, TN

    An event this tragic and horrific is difficult to fathom, especially since the reason for the season is to celebrate the first coming of our Lord Jesus, at least for many folks in our country. We should all pray for the poor man who died, his family, all of his co-workers, and the seemingly thoughtless or self absorbed people who were part of this situation. Regardless of any one's religious affiliation, we should all pray about this and that true peace will come for all.

    November 30, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  8. L Gibson

    I do know one thing Walmart does not carry one item that is as priceless as one single human life.

    November 30, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  9. dan ramos

    i feel that corporate greed helped to cause the death of the wal mart employee. if these businesses would not allow loitering in there parking lots there would not be masses of people fighting to be the first one in the doors. try loitering at wal mart on any other day of the year. the police would run you off!

    November 30, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  10. chris

    At a time when the United States is deparately trying to recover their image around the world, moments such as the Walmart tragedy and the shootings in the toy store, reflect the work that needs to be done at home. America, you were once a beakon of light for democracy and freedom. Now you have fallen victim to freedom and liberty. Kids killing kids in schools, 43 million without health care coverage, a senseless death of a trampled Walmart employee just to buy a 'thing' on sale and shootings in a toy store. I hope each American stops today to reflect on their freedom and how presious it is. Most in the world do not have the rights and freedoms you possess. It is tragic that we abroad view Amercia now as a country that appears not to value their freedom; rather, they are taking it for granted. Please restore your inner self and become the beakon of hope you once were. We still love you; but we have lost faith in your words. Actions speak louder than words. It is time to act. Having access to a gun does not define freedom. Having access to hope and having the courage to stand up and say enough is enough is truely liberty. Your brothers from Canada care about you.

    November 30, 2008 at 1:46 pm |
  11. chuck

    Only in America.

    November 30, 2008 at 12:52 pm |
  12. Sandi AZ

    Now you know why I shop on the Internet. I buy very little at Walmart due to the fact they do not treat their employees fairly. I hope this family sues them for their greedy sales and every person who stepped on this poor man gets their just due. This is Horrific!

    November 30, 2008 at 12:41 pm |
  13. Lee Gibson, Va

    Wal-Mart Wal-Mart Wal-Mart

    Was this your 1st black friday sale? Guess you had no idea 2000 people would spend the night waiting to get to few items you have "in stock" at that sale price. Oh yea–the guy was not a "real Wal-Mart worker"–so that somehow lets you off the hook??

    Sorry–You set up the game. You put things into motion. You created a mindless mob and put nothing in place to control it.

    November 30, 2008 at 7:11 am |
  14. Jack

    Of course this horrible company could have done more. Shut down all registers for one. They people should not be rewarded for killing this man, but will Walmart do that-NO! With an explicative in front of that 'NO'. They should have also put more employees at the door to ensure the employees had partners or buddies to look out for one another. But will Walmart do that-NO. They are a cheap company bent on making money. They don't care if a man is trampled to death or many other injured, as long as they can get your money they could care less. Just like the woman who was injured and brain damaged in the car accident and got a settlement from the insurance company and they wanted her to pay her Walmart health insurance back. HORRIBLE COMPANY!!!

    November 30, 2008 at 1:32 am |
  15. Mindy Chatsworth, Ca.

    Of course Wal-Mart could have done more! This is beyond an outrage! A man gets up in the morning to go to work and gets trampled to death by a mob of people so intent on being first to get a bargain? What on earth has become of us? How can you possibly compare getting a piece of merchandise to the value of a human life?

    Wal-Mart is supposed to be responsible for the safety of its workers. There should have been enough security on hand to control a large crowd of people who had been waiting since the night before. There should have been barricades and a specific walkway or entrance that everyone needed to file through in an orderly manner.

    Wal-Mart has a poor reputation regarding the manner in which it treats its employees. This tragedy could have been avoided. I can't imagine the horror of this poor man being literally trampled to death as people pushed like animals to get into the store and grab some goodies.

    This is not what Thanksgiving is all about. This is just insanity run amok. My heart goes out to this man's family.

    November 29, 2008 at 11:08 pm |
  16. Eileen Pfingst

    I don't know if Wal-Mart could have done more–we all have 20/20 hindsight. However, I do feel that Wal-Mart needs to do more going forward. Jdimypai Damour's death is truly tragic. And what makes it even more horrible is the indifference towards human life by the shoppers who would not leave, because they had waited in line for hours.
    This Black Friday madness has to stop. It's bad enough that people forget about the meaning of Thanksgiving in order to get the best sale at midnight. But now they are forgetting about the importance of human life so they can be the first to grab that special item off the shelf.
    Wal-Mart should end the practice of opening in the middle of the night, and having sales specific to certain hours. Every retailer needs to do the same. We cannot allow Jdimypai Damour to have died in vain. The loss of one human life should be enough to end these Black Friday practices.
    Years ago the day after Thanksgiving was still considered Black Friday, but the stores opened at 8:00 or 9:00, and the sales were available all day. Wal-Mart, and all retailers need to step up to the plate and express that the profits of opening early and having special sales are not worth it.

    November 29, 2008 at 11:05 pm |
  17. Alex

    I'm sick and tired of the allegations against Wal-Mart made by unions. The Unions are ones who responsible for everything and they should be abolished. It was a very smart decision in 1960s to prohibit uniojns on Wal-Mart property because unions are nothing but damage to America. Too bad that people like Drew Griffin and Anderson Cooper believe in this nonsense.


    November 29, 2008 at 10:45 pm |
  18. Mike, NC

    That just goes to show that the United States is a ME country. Nobody gave a crap about an innocent man being TRAMPLED to death. I mean, this sounds like some stuff you would hear about in some third world country or something! But then again, those people in poor countries probably care more for each other than most people in our selfish cities.

    Another source said that the store manager asked people to please calm down, that someone had just DIED in the store, and customers were cussing out employees saying "who cares about him, I have been in line for over five hours!" That is filthy, low down behavior and those people deserve to see just how that poor man felt at the bottom of a stampede of hundreds of greedy animals.

    I just hope his family will be compensated somehow, no matter who is to blame (though all involved were at fault).

    November 29, 2008 at 8:11 pm |
  19. K

    That's insane and uncontrolled,uncaring greed and an uncalled for tragedy ! No manners or respect for others with considerations all for a Wal-Mart deal ? That's wacked out !

    November 29, 2008 at 8:10 pm |
  20. Anonymously Angry

    Very sad. All this for a bargain.

    November 29, 2008 at 6:14 pm |
  21. bojosmom

    Morally? Certainly, laws were broken. Laws of compassion and civility obviously. Legally....??? I am not a lawyer so I leave that to those who are educated in the laws of our nation and the state of New York.
    It is a tragedy! And for what?...material things. Tragic.

    November 29, 2008 at 4:54 pm |
  22. Ralph Illinois

    I think Walmart should be held responsible. They should pay police for crowd control when they have one of these stupid sales going on.

    That could have been an innocent child with stupid parents.

    November 29, 2008 at 4:54 pm |
  23. DJ

    I'm so upset at the matierialism portrayed in this situation. Such savage behavior should be punished. Damour was a human being; he had life and a future. all the people involved should feel like a murderer. Greed at a time when we need to share is not a good start to repairing our future. I cant help but to cry for Damour, he had his life ripped away for a $700 Plasma Screen TV. my heart goes out to his family.

    November 29, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  24. artpage1

    Wal Mart should survey the people who trampled the man to death to see if they managed to get a great deal... In hindsight, do they think they took advantage of killer prices, and what kind of income level motivates such callousness.

    November 29, 2008 at 4:27 pm |
  25. michele

    I am totally disgusted. This man was a human being who did not deserve such a ridiculous and unneccesary fate. Over what? A sale? Something that was probably marked up and then marked down anyway? What a sad nation we have become. Sometimes it seems as if we have no regard for a fellow human being. I will keep this man's family in my prayers as we all should.

    November 29, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  26. Gina Sulmeyer

    I am horrified by this incident, but an equal outrage is Wal Mart's behavior in accepting these people's money and going about business as usual. The store was reported closed until 1 p.m., but "the shoppers inside were escorted out with their purchases." Heaven forbid the murders should not be rewarded with their loot! Another example of Wal Mart's irresponibility in this world.

    November 29, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  27. bruce salvage

    this does not surprise me,this is the culture of america right now in the last 10 years or so.and of course wal-mart does and says nothing except "we're sorry". i just had a small accident with my car at a wal-mart a month ago, a stray cart scratched my car,when i called wal-marts insurance company- CLAIMS MANAGEMENT, i was called names,hung up on etc..,and no one at wal-mart has returned any calls whatsoever-i now have to sue them in small claims court. so ,if wal-mart will do this to the littelest disabled customer,do you actually think they will have any empathy for this dead man or his family? I THINK NOT. BETCHA A THOUSAND DOLLARS,IT WILL BE THE SAME SCENE AT THE SAME WAL-MART NEXT YEAR TOO..

    November 29, 2008 at 12:38 pm |
  28. Jeri

    I find it very interesting that Walmart is already distancing themselves from this situation by making sure the public knows the employee was only temporary and working for another agency. Interesting still they are more worried about who broke their door than they are about the man who died. If he was only temporary, why did he have keys to open the door to begin with?
    Also, I think it would be interesting to hear from the people who stampeded the store. Were they able to make all the purchases they went into the store to find? Are they satisfied knowing that while a man lay dying, they kept on shopping? When Walmart tried to close the store, the people who got mad stating they had been in line since the day before...are they happy? Did they get their stupid $40 drill or $400 piece of crap tv? Not to make generalizations, but, did we notice anything like that happening at places like Best Buy or Macy's?
    The Toys-R-Us thing I feel was a hit. Nobody shoots somebody and leaves the gun beside the body unless they are trying to send a message. Still, though, what could they have possibly been arguing about in a toy store?
    Sad, Sad. American greed. I'll just stay at home and shop online. Not as much fun as watching stupid people duke it out over a toy but with far less headaches.

    November 29, 2008 at 10:37 am |
  29. ManOfTheHouse-Charlotte

    Blame WalMart? Not really – let's punish all the idiots that checked out of WalMart that morning – I'll bet most used some kind of credit card and the final justice? Close the store – Permanently. Valley Stream does not deserve a WalMart. I can't imagine, in my wildest thoughts, how awful this was. Shoppers? No....animals. Each and every one that entered – nothing more than an animal. WalMart MUST make a very strong statement and make it soon. I beg them to close this store just as Joan Croc closed the McDonalds south of San Diego when a madman went in shooting. This community has alot of soul searching to do between now and Christmas.

    November 29, 2008 at 9:21 am |
  30. George

    It's really tragic that people are so much consumed by discounts that they are able to trample over a helpless person. Is human life worth less than the $ 9 Hulk DVD on sale? I wonder if the people who ran over him had an iota of conscious, hope they are happy with their savings.

    Meanwhile Walmart must compensate for this worker's family and ensure that things like this does not happen at their store in the future. They need to ensure that their employees and shoppers have a safe experience at their stores. In a couple of days this incident might be forgoton and Walmart might go back to their business as usual attitude. Hope enough noise is raised in the blogosphere and mainstream media about this incident and the Walmart PR juggernaut takes some accountability.

    November 29, 2008 at 8:37 am |
  31. Jen

    If no law was broken, then it's because NY doesn't have a needed law requiring appropriate security measures when a facility holds an event that will require enough security to deal with masses of unthinking people.

    Then again, NY probably doesn't want to have/enforce such a law, because there probably aren't enough security folks available to deal with all of the Black Friday events, and it would just be unAmerican to slow down Black Friday, now wouldn't it?

    November 29, 2008 at 8:32 am |
  32. Cameron

    Everyday I wake up and I am happy that I have a beautiful son and wife, a job, a house and a really nice SUV, The last few years I have also been happy about something else, I am a CANADIAN and I live in CANADA! The US has become a country of fat, baby-making slobs and someone getting trampled to death at a Walmart is typical US behavior. I also hear that there was a shooting in a Toys R Us in California. Surprise, Surprise! Shootings in the US.

    November 29, 2008 at 7:47 am |
  33. Max

    I can't think of any material thing on EARTH I would stand in a huge CROWD like that for.

    Maybe my KIDS and a few other people though????

    November 29, 2008 at 7:34 am |
  34. Kenna

    What a waste. I hope these shoppers whose shopping was apparently SO IMPORTANT THEY COULD NOT EVEN CLEAR OUT FOR THE POLICE TO REACH HIM are happy with themselves.

    November 29, 2008 at 6:36 am |
  35. John Sequeira

    I wonder, did the Walmart close its doors after this tragedy, or was the promise of the almighty dollar to much to turn away?

    November 29, 2008 at 4:15 am |
  36. John Sequeira

    Hey, thanks, Walmart, for pointing out that he was only "working for a temporary agency on [your] behalf," because then that means he was obviously not trained to deal with the standard rigors of being a full-time Walmart employee. If he had been a full time employee of your wonderful company, of course his death could have been averted, as your careful training teaches those who work for you how to avoid being trampled by the mindless consumerist masses.

    November 29, 2008 at 4:04 am |
  37. Sabrina Garcia

    Now how would you not know if you are stepping on someone. This is not for real is it?

    November 29, 2008 at 3:47 am |
  38. Valerie

    this is just is horrific. It really shows how selfish people are to get what they want. This poor guy who makes a small paycheck gets trampled on and killed.
    2000 people! I not only consider this the shoppers fault but Walmarts as well. They saw people stacking up all nite and morning. They should have had some more precations for their staff as well as the shoppers safety.

    November 29, 2008 at 1:10 am |
  39. ashley - willis, tx

    I used to work at wal-mart, and yeah, they could do more to keep people safe, but they don't, even in everyday life. My friend works black friday at wal-mart every year, luckily she's in the photolab, but she said people fight and get extremely crazy. I work at the mall and today it was nuts! I had to work 13 hours today and I don't understand why they have to make these sales all at one time, in one day! It's just nuts...

    November 29, 2008 at 12:37 am |
  40. J.V.Hodgson

    Most of these stores have more than one entrance or exit? they could have seen this coming based on the crowd numbers and done something to organise a more realistic entry, Like splitting the line with barriers at say 100 at a time.
    Anyhow it is sad that someone died and Walmart should compensate the family financially for what that is worth in reality. He died because of thier negligence and lack of forethought.
    Black Friday for sure.

    November 28, 2008 at 11:33 pm |
  41. Nagi

    You know the world is in trouble when somebody has to die in the name of discount shopping. In a crowd of over a thousand, it's disturbing to know that not one stopped to help. These people weren't running from armed gunmen, they were running towards discount deals. What does Wal-mart sell that was more important than this man's life?

    To compare these people to a herd of animals would be an insult to animals. And expecting large scale crowds, Wal-mart should have had more security on hand.

    November 28, 2008 at 11:28 pm |
  42. Fay, CA

    If Stores such as Wal-Mart are going to create an atmosphere on Black Friday that whips their customers into a frenzy over possibly getting a big bargain, then they should have some kind of system in place to handle the crowds. But the blame doesn't completely fall on the stores, the customers themselves should think about their actions–no sale is worth hurting yourself or others over. I feel for Jdimypai Damour's family and the pain they must be experiencing now.

    November 28, 2008 at 11:15 pm |
  43. John Self

    Regrettably, this is a reflection of what our country has become. Self absorbed with no sense of accountability and personal responsibility.

    Tis the season....

    November 28, 2008 at 10:34 pm |
  44. christopher

    I think anyonw who stepped on this man is guilty of AT LEAST manslaughter. You got the tape, now get the perpetrators.

    November 28, 2008 at 10:26 pm |
  45. Charisse Van Horn

    I remember hearing my first "Black Friday" horror story. I was 14 years old and my girlfriend told how she and her mother had been shopping and another woman pushed her down to take an item out of her hand. I decided back then that I would never go shopping on Black Friday. I think Black Friday has always been a materialistic, greedy way to undo the thankfulness that people experience the day before. Personally, I think Black Friday needs a permanent vacation.
    This isn't the first unsafe incident, and it won't be the last. It is a disgusting display of greed- and it is a disgrace that it happens the day after Thanksgiving.

    November 28, 2008 at 10:11 pm |
  46. louisiana joe

    Sale, Sale, Sale is what is advertised but the limited quantiy of the sale items is not. Wal-Mart should have some liability for the sign posted and lack of security.

    November 28, 2008 at 9:58 pm |
  47. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Using the surveillance video, they should charge each person who tampled him with manslaughter. Walmart managment should be charged with negligent homicide.

    November 28, 2008 at 9:47 pm |
  48. Rekha Joy Raman

    Of course something more should have been done. How is his family supposed to react to this. How is the law supposed to view this kind of tragedy? Can it be categorized in "the such things happen" category? Do people just forget themselves in their shopping frenzy and are absolutely oblivious to the presence of a dying man on the floor? Is nobody charged with anything? Can't the law bring some justice to such incidents even if they don't take place that often?
    Walmart needs to bring about some sort of compensation and not treat this case with indifference.

    November 28, 2008 at 9:25 pm |
  49. Teresa, OH

    You would think they could put in some kind of protection for these folks. Maybe turnstiles and metal line barriers?? A man is dead so people can save a little money. I think everyone who put a foot on him should be held accountable for his death. Not to mention Wallys. This was a foreseeable accident.

    On the video, I like the part where someone said: no one wants to put thier mouth on him... He was right, but why???

    My condolences to his family and friends.

    November 28, 2008 at 9:18 pm |
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