Investigators “Piecing Together” Walmart Pepper Spray Case

Authorities have yet to decide if charges should be filed

The woman who caused a pepper spray chaos at the Walmart store in Porter Ranch on Thanksgiving night is a 32-year-old mother who lives in the San Fernando Valley.  She turned herself in at the LAPD's Devonshire station Friday night.

"She declined to be interviewed. We gathered her information and released her," Lt. Tim Torsney said.

Police add the investigation is only about halfway complete because of multiple people and perceptions involved in the case. 

Detectives say the woman was vying for half price Xbox 360 video games when she allegedly pulled out her canister of pepper spray. 

Fourteen victims were sprayed directly or were in the vicinity.  Ten other people nearby also felt the effects, like eye irritation and sore throats, police said.

"We're piecing together the video captured by citizens that were inside to try to determine as best we can what happened and then have that investigation presented to the District Attorney's office," Lt. Torsney said, adding police are working with Walmart to look at surveillance videos and speak to employees and security from the night of the incident.

The District Attorney's office will determine if any misdemeanor or felony charges will be filed. 

Pepper spray, containing the substance oleoresin capsicum (OC), is legal to use in California but only for self defense purposes.  A person must be 18 years of age or older and cannot have been convicted of a crime to buy or use pepper spray.  The pepper spray must be in aerosol spray form and can be no greater than 2.5 ounces according to California Penal Code Section 12403.7.

More: Pepper Spray Effects

"We are trying to do our best to piece together the investigation to try to determine the suspect's state of mind at the time the incident took place," Lt. Torsney said.

In the calm and tranquility of Monday's shopping at the same Walmart, customers were convinced the actions deserve some sort of penalty.

"I know it gets crazy inside but no matter what she shouldn't have pulled out that pepper spray," Sandy Griego said.

"Even if it's a misdemeanor, community service or something because someone was injured. There was more than one person injured," Michael Petroni said.

Detectives at the Devonshire station are asking others who were at the store during the pepper spraying to come forward and call them at 818-832-0609. 

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