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11-26-22 11:57 AM
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Xeogaming Forums - General Chat - Shooting in Toy Store on Black Friday | |
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Since: 01-29-05
From: New Zealand

Since last post: 3638 days
Last activity: 3252 days
Posted on 11-29-08 01:50 PM Link | Quote
This is the next block over from my work.... and in a Toys R Us on Black Friday.... those poor kids!! This is Palm Desert, not LA or something... *shakes head*

Desert Sun staff reports

PALM DESERT — Authorities have identified the two men who pulled guns and shot each other to death in a crowded toy store Friday, the first day of the holiday shopping season.

The victims were Alejandro Moreno, 39, of Desert Hot Springs, and Juan Meza, 28, of Cathedral City. Authorities believe the two knew each other.

It was a parent's worst nightmare: Gunshots and screams rang through a crowded toy store filled with children during the holiday season.

Shoppers dropped to the ground. Some hid under shelves with their children. One woman acted as if she was dead and another fed her baby so as not to draw attention to themselves.

On the busiest shopping day of the year — the day after Thanksgiving — two men were killed in what witnesses and police say began as a dispute between two females inside a crowded Toys R Us at 72-314 Highway 111.

As reported on, the Palm Desert Police Department received calls of shots fired about 11:30 a.m., Riverside County sheriff's Sgt. Dennis Gutierrez said.

When police arrived a minute later, two men were fatally shot inside. No one else was injured, he said.

“We have recovered two handguns within close proximity of the deceased,” Gutierrez said. “There's a possibility they knew each other.”

‘Daddy, wake up'

Witnesses inside the store told investigators the shooting began shortly before 11:30 a.m., during some kind of argument between two adolescent females.

The argument escalated when one of the females “pummeled” the other, according to one witness, who said two men — adult males, connected to each of the females — joined the dispute and pulled out guns.

J. Schmidt, 40, of Desert Hot Springs was one of more than two dozen witnesses questioned by authorities Friday afternoon after the shootings.

She said she was a few feet from the parties who were arguing and dropped to the floor after she saw one of the men pull out a gun.

“I got down on the ground and I heard shots,” she said, adding that her husband dragged her behind a DVD display. “It seemed like an eternity. But after just two or three minutes the gunfire ceased, then we ran out the back of the store,” she said.

In another aisle, at about the same time, Ray Turner, 20, of Palm Springs, was looking for items for his 1-year-old daughter in the store's electronics section when he said he heard indistinct arguing between two females coming from one aisle away.

Turner said he looked around the corner of the aisle and saw a man fire a handgun into the air and then fire it at someone else.

“I mean he nailed him,” Turner said of the man. “Next thing you know — it was like rats going crazy — people dropping things, stuff that they bought toys and receipts were scattered everywhere.”

He said the two suspected shooters appeared to be in their 20s or 30s and one had small children with him.

Turner said he ran in the opposite direction and went looking for his sister and brother who were inside the store with him. He said he and a number of others took refuge in a stock room and waited for the shooting to stop.

Once it had ended, Turner said he walked out and saw a small child near the body of one of the men.

He said he heard the child say: “Daddy, wake up.”

Open for business

Riverside County sheriff's Lt. Greg Ammons said that while an investigation into the shooting is ongoing, they are not looking for other suspects because the two men were “the only ones involved.”

Little other information was known by 11 p.m. Friday.

Gutierrez said some from the scene had been detained, but no arrests had been made.

Witnesses were being questioned well into the night at a nearby Pizza Hut and inside a mobile command center set up near the Toys R Us.

“We have two dead individuals inside the store,” Palm Desert Councilman Jim Ferguson said. “The events of why the shots were fired is still ongoing.”

While the violence erupted during the traditional post-Thanksgiving start of the holiday shopping surge, it was not clear whether it involved any shopping frenzy.

“I think the obvious question everyone has is: ‘Who takes loaded weapons into a Toys R Us?'” Ferguson said. “I doubt it was the casual holiday shopper.”

A statement released by Toys R Us late Friday afternoon said the company was “outraged” by the violence and “that anyone would compromise the safety and security of our customers and employees.”

The company is working closely with local law enforcement and does not associate the shooting with Black Friday, according to the statement.

Gutierrez said the toy store is expected to reopen today for business.

Probe ongoing

Late Friday, nearly two dozen people could be seen eating at booths inside the Pizza Hut as they waited to be questioned by law enforcement. The interviews came after the toy store was locked down for several hours.

Major traffic jams were reported on Highway 111 and Fred Waring Drive in the afternoon and early evening.

Forensics personnel arrived at the scene after 5 p.m. and were expected to remain on scene for some time.

Many people who had parked in the Toys R Us lot returned to the area to move their cars, but authorities would not allow it.

Those inside the store who had dropped personal property also were not allowed to retrieve their items because the store and the parking lot were considered part of an ongoing investigation.

More than a dozen police cars, paramedic units and fire trucks were at the scene, and a helicopter was circling overhead.

Onlookers gathered at the scene throughout the afternoon and early evening. Some were looking for loved ones.

Scott Bertz had just gotten off work in the morning — he works at Waste Management — and turned on the TV when he got home and saw the news about the Toys R Us shooting. He came right over when it happened.

It was his daughter's first day of work at the store. Brisa Bertz is a College of the Desert student who was working as a clerk over the holidays to save some money.

“It's crazy,” Scott Bertz said. “I don't know why someone would do this,” he said, tears streaming down his face. “What could make somebody so mad?”

After the violence erupted, many of the shoppers fled to nearby stores.

Jeff Vallaire of World Gym at 44-419 Town Center Way said about a dozen people came across the street to the gym.

They said there was a gunman inside the toy store, Vallaire said.

“They ran out the back. They heard gunshots and came in here,” he said. “It's pretty crazy around here right now.”

Desert Sun reporters Colin Atagi, Nicole C. Brambila, Denise Goolsby, Mariecar Mendoza, Terria Smith and Erica Solvig along with The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Ball and Chain Trooper

Since: 08-14-04
From: 255

Since last post: 49 days
Last activity: 44 days
Posted on 11-29-08 05:15 PM Link | Quote
So damn stupid. Shit like this always happens on Black Friday every year. I remember seeing some recording of a store opening where it looked like a stampede was going on at the entrance, absolutely lame ...

Ball and Chain Trooper

Since: 08-14-04
From: 255

Since last post: 49 days
Last activity: 44 days
Posted on 11-29-08 05:23 PM Link | Quote
As I was saying...

Wal-Mart worker dies in Black Friday stampede

Pardon me, but that's absolutely fucking stupid. Can't believe the world we live in.
If you're reading this... You are the Resistance

Since: 08-17-04

Since last post: 34 days
Last activity: 23 days
Posted on 11-30-08 09:23 AM Link | Quote
Yeah, I've been in Arizona all this time and both pieces made top headlines here on Saturday morning.

Seriously... what the hell, people?

I'm particularly appalled by the Wal-Mart trampling. And what's more annoying is the people who got all upset because they had to close the store to take care of his body and all that. Stupid, stupid people.


Since: 01-29-05
From: New Zealand

Since last post: 3638 days
Last activity: 3252 days
Posted on 11-30-08 12:53 PM Link | Quote
The trampling thing blew my mind.

The toy store shooting actually had nothing at all to do with black Friday, oddly enough...
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