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Black Friday Deals Draw Early Crowds, Scattered Violence

As retail stores opened their doors earlier than ever this year on Black Friday, American consumers responded with a strong reception to the new Black Friday hours piling into stores at midnight to snag the best deals on holiday gifts.

An estimated 9,000 people waited in line outside of Macy’s in New York City’s Herald Square for the midnight opening of the largest retail store in the world.

In Texas, consumers camped out in front of a Houston Best Buy for days prior to the opening of the store at 12 a.m. on Black Friday.

“My first impression is this is a positive step and we’re attracting a different type of customer,” Macy’s Chief Executive Terry Lundgren said.

Much of the late night crowd that stores were able to lure in following Thanksgiving dinner appear to come from a younger demographic that are shopping for deals on goods for themselves.

Experts have predicted that around 152 million people would come out to shop on Black Friday, a 27 percent increase from the year before.

With so many people looking to score a discount, the popular shopping day has thus far not been without incident.

One Los Angeles woman pepper sprayed her shopping rivals, injuring 20 while attempting to defend an X-Box games consol.

Matthew Lopez, a shopper that was in the Walmart store when the incident happened told the Los Angeles Times, “I heard screaming and I heard yelling. Moments later my throat stung. I was coughing really bad.”

In Myrtle Beach, S.C. a 55-year-old shopper was shot in a robbery near a Walmart store. Another shopper was shot and critically injured in San Leandro, Calif. early Friday morning.

In Arizona, an explosive devise was found in a break room refrigerator at a Walmart store. The store was evacuated and eventually reopened after police dogs searched the premises.

With an expected 10 percent jump in shoppers this Black Friday and the day already marked with pepper spray and violence, it remains to be seen what other mishaps may hamper Black Friday bargains.

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