Pepper spray, gunfire and a police response over sneakers? That's what went down across the U.S. today when Nike released the new Air Jordans. After waiting for hours (in some cases, days) for the chance to buy a pair of the retro kicks, some shoppers turned to violence on Friday.
According to the Associated Press (via The Seattle Times), the fights were reminiscent of violence that broke out in the early 1990s on streets across America as the shoes became popular targets for thieves.
In suburban Seattle, police used pepper spray on about 20 customers who started fighting at the Westfield Southcenter mall early Friday. Similar scuffles were reported across the country.
Local police officer Mike Murphy said people started gathering around midnight at four stores in the mall for a chance to buy the shoes, which retail for about $180 a pair. The crowd grew to more than 1,000 people by 4 a.m., when the stores opened, he said.
"Around 3 (a.m.) there started to be some fighting and pushing among the customers," Murphy said. "Around 4, it started to get pretty unruly and officers sprayed pepper spray on a few people who were fighting, and that seemed to do the trick to break them up."
He said no serious injuries were reported, although one man was arrested for assault after authorities say he pushed an officer.
"He did not get his shoes; he went to jail," Murphy said.
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(Photo: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)