A Wal-Mart worker died early Friday after an "out-of-control" mob of frenzied shoppers smashed through the Long Island store's front doors and trampled him, police said.
The Black Friday stampede plunged the Valley Stream outlet into chaos, knocking several employees to the ground and sending others scurrying atop vending machines to avoid the horde.
When the madness ended, 34-year-old Jdimytai Damour was dead and four shoppers, including a woman eight months pregnant, were injured.
Roughly 2,000 people gathered outside the Wal-Mart's doors in the predawn darkness.
Chanting "push the doors in," the crowd pressed against the glass as the clock ticked down to the 5 a.m. opening.
Sensing catastrophe, nervous employees formed a human chain inside the entrance to slow down the mass of shoppers.
It didn't work.
The mob barreled in and overwhelmed workers.
By KIERAN CROWLEY and LUKAS I. ALPERT
New York Post
"All of sudden, they started beating on the door, banging it down," said shopper Camla Brown, 47. "They began shouting, 'Open up! Open up!' "
Then, at 5:03 a.m., Jdimytai Damour, 34 - hired just for the holiday rush - opened the door, and a frenzied horde of hundreds surged forward, knocking him to the ground and crushing him, police said.
"They overran him and kept running into the store. They pushed right over his body," said Nassau County Police Detective Lt. Michael Fleming. "Many of them did not even know he was down there."
The force of the crowd - many of whom had begun lining up the previous night - bent the store's outer door inward and shattered its glass. Several other employees were forced to jump atop soda-vending machines to avoid the rush, police said.
Other employees tried to battle forward to help Damour, but were pushed back by the crowd, Fleming said. Even officers responding to the scene had difficulty pushing through the mob to get to the fallen man.
"It was utter and complete chaos," Fleming said.
Even though it was clear there was trouble, shoppers continued pushing forward, stepping over Damour's crushed body, witnesses said.
"Nobody cared. They were still trying to get in. People were stampeding to get inside," Brown said.