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Did Wal-Mart Black Friday Shopper Use Pepper Spray in Self-Defense?

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Self-defense is just one of the possible motives detectives with the Los Angeles Police Department are considering to determine just why a woman used pepper spray to ward off fellow shoppers at the Porter Ranch Wal-Mart during their Black Friday pre-sale last Thursday night.

The LAPD say they are not certain right now why the shopper, a 32-year-old mother from the Valley who took her kids to the 10 p.m. sale Thanksgiving night, felt the need to use the pepper spray while she and other customers scrambled to get their hands on deeply discounted merchandise, specifically videogames.

Video footage from the madhouse sale scene show chaos, as employees try to keep relative order among the shoppers eager to score bargains. The LAPD say they intend to further study all footage available to see if the woman may have been acting out of concern for her own safety, explains L.A. Now.

Yesterday, LAPD Det. Mike Fesperman explained what the cops are trying to ascertain: "It comes down to whether it was a matter of self-preservation or she was trying to gain access to the games."

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If they find that the woman feared for her safety, they may not press charges.

Initially, authorities said the woman was engaged in "competitive shopping."

"She declined to be interviewed. We gathered her information and we released her," said LAPD Lt. Tim Torsney, according to ABC7.

Investigators are planning to talk to as many witnesses as possible. They say the LAPD is also working to determine if stores like Wal-Mart can better handle these kinds of sale events in order to keep the customers safe.

"We want to make sure that this doesn't happen again," said LAPD Capt. Chris Pitcher.