Hulen Mall was the scene of scuffles, screams, and pepper spray early Friday morning when some coveted limited-edition athletic shoes went on sale before a rowdy crowd of hundreds.
An estimated 350 to 400 people tried rushing the doors at the southwest Fort Worth mall. They had been lining up since about 5 a.m., according to police.
The shoppers say three stores in the mall were selling the retro Air Jordans: Foot Action, Finish Line and Shoe Palace.
Just two of the stores used pre-issued vouchers so buyers could wait patiently for their turn. But shoppers say the Shoe Palace did not issue vouchers this year, so the shoe fans rushed the mall entrances shortly after the store opened at 7 a.m.
In the excitement, security guards used pepper spray to stop crowds from crushing people against the doors. According to Fort Worth Police, an officer was knocked to the ground and used pepper spray to clear a way to escape as well.
"It was an orderly line at first, but then people started pushing and shoving to get to the other doors," said Tyler Freeman, who was at the mall with his mother. "Once they got to the other doors, police just starting coming in and macing everybody."
Tyler's mom said the danger isn't worth it.
"They should make it where you order them online," said Chelsia Daniel. "I don't want to lose my life behind a pair of tennis shoes."
Several people left empty-handed and disappointed.
"I've been here since 5:30," said Aaliyah Cohen. "They're telling us there are no more adult sizes and only kids' sizes. I'm [redacted] off."
The limited edition shoes go on sale a few times a year. Online collectors will drive up the prices to several times the retail value.
But the rush to be the first to have the coveted shoes brings danger.
"It could have been a big problem," said Lt. Pitt of the Fort Worth police department. "When you get the crowd pushed up against the door and people start pushing forward, there could have been some bad injuries with this."
Several people were treated at the scene for bumps, bruises and respiratory problems from the pepper spray. Police made no arrests.
KDFW FOX 4
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