Police are looking for a Hispanic woman in connection to the chaos at a Porter Ranch Wal-Mart store just after 10pm Thanksgiving night. She is described at 36 to 38 years of age, 5’4” and 140 pounds.
The incident left 10 victims seeking treatment for various non-life threatening injuries.
The woman, who has not been identified, allegedly doused other customers with pepper spray while trying to grab an X Box 360 game system.
Her actions could lead to several misdemeanor or felony charges depending on whether the city or district attorney takes the case, according to Det. Gus Villanueva of the Los Angeles Police Department.
"It involves spraying a caustic chemical on a victim and then that would be multiplied by the 10 victims," Villanueva added.
Pepper spray can cause temporary blindness, nausea, a burning sensation on the skin and limit a person from breathing even if under the influence. The effects can last from 15 minutes up to an hour.
Pepper spray, containing the substance oleoresin capsicum, is legal to use in California under restrictions. A person must be 18 years of age or older and cannot have been convicted of a crime to buy or use it.
The spray must be in aerosol form and can be no greater than 2.5 ounces, according to California Penal Code Section 12403.7.
A warning label on each pepper spray indicates the pepper spray is being used for self-defense purposes only. If not, under state law a violator could face up to three years in a state jail and a maximum $1,000 fine.
Police do not believe the suspect in the Wal-Mart case acted in self-defense.
"It doesn't appear to be any self-defense involved on this at this point. Ideally, if she just came forward and turned herself in obviously would be the simplest resolution," Villanueva said, adding store bought pepper sprays are very much like police- issued sprays.
LAPD detectives from the Devonshire division are combing over Wal-Mart surveillance videos and other videos that have now surfaced on the web and elsewhere. Authorities are also reportedly looking into receipts and sales records to see if the suspect actually purchased the X Box before leaving the store.
Devonshire police detectives are asking anyone who recognizes the alleged suspect or has information about the event on Thanksgiving night to contact detectives at 818-832-0609.
Police also have a reminder while shopping during the holiday season.
"We know that these sales events are fantastic. We know that these are tough economic times for everyone but we do ask that everyone exercise patience and calm with one another during these events," Det. Villanueva said.