Kim Baldonado, Sean Browning, Angie Moriconi
Pandemonium broke out last year at a Porter Ranch Walmart when a woman blasted shoppers with pepper spray during an early Black Friday shopping. Now, Porter Ranch residents and local law enforcement are working to make sure there's no repeat performance this year. Kim Baldonado reports for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Nov. 13 2012.
Last year found holiday shoppers at their worst: pushing, shoving, and yelling, all to get their hands on a half price Xbox at the Porter Ranch Walmart.
In the middle of it all was 32-year-old Elizabeth Macias and her teenage sons. She later claimed she was in fear of her sons' safety when she pepper sprayed the crowd, forcing more than a dozen people, including children, to suffer eye, nose and throat irritation.
"I'm confident that this year we won't have the incident that occurred last year, again. We've been working closely with Walmart," said Officer Danny Del Valle, of the LAPD.
On Tuesday, the LAPD and Walmart representatives addressed a Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council meeting to let residents know what changes will be in place this holiday season.
The retail store has hired more security guards, will put up barricades around big-ticket items to keep customers lined up, and will hand out vouchers for other popular items.
"Setting up obstacles so there's no mob that occurs at the entrance sounds like it will be an very effective process," said Chatsworth resident, Shellie Prezent.
"It looks like they got it together this year," said Porter Ranch resident Eli Batta, "so hopefully people will be more safe during these holidays."