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Black Friday begins with gun violence at Riverchase Galleria in Hoover

The Hoover Police shot and killed a 21-year-old man, from Hueytown, Thursday night at the Hoover Riverchase Galleria after he allegedly opened fire on shoppers as thousands of people were lured into the massive mall for advertised Black Friday specials from retailers.

An 18-year-old male was shot, according to early reporting by the Hueytown man. He was rushed to UAB Hospital’s Trauma Center and is reportedly in serious condition. A 12-year-old girl was also shot and wounded. She is being treated at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham.
Thousands of shoppers were there that night for the Black Friday deals. Hoover city officials said that the scene was chaotic as shopper rushed for cover and many pulled their own weapons.

The gunfire erupted between the J.C. Penney and Foot Action stores on the mall’s second floor.

Today is “Black Friday” where many people go on wild spending sprees at retailers buying Christmas gifts. The big box stores can be chaotic as hundreds of people compete for after Christmas advertised bargains. It is called Black Friday because retailers often operated in the red for much of the year, then suddenly wild Christmas spending produces so much profit that the stores move from breakeven (or worse) to firmly in the profit side.

Throngs of people will be in the malls, strip malls, and Wal-Mart Super Stores today to participate in the shopping craze; but large numbers of people competing for limited numbers of advertised loss leaders in overcrowded stores can lead to tensions and occasionally even violence.

The motives of the shooter from Hueytown are not known at this time.

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The Hoover Police were out in full force Thursday night and responded quickly to the shooting inside the mall.

The Hoover Riverchase Galleria is the largest mall in the State of Alabama.

Many Americans feel social and family pressure to purchase expensive Christmas gifts and that often leads them to purchase items with consumer credit, which can lead to spiraling financial problems.

(Original reporting by the Alabama Media Group and WVTM Channel 13 TV in Birmingham contributed to this report.)

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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