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Big Crowds, 1 Arrest at Malls Selling Air Jordans


Updated at Dec. 23, 2011 at 11:33 a.m.

Excitement over the release of Nike's new Air Jordan basketball shoes prompted a crowd of about 200 people to force its way into the Bayfair Mall in San Leandro Friday morning, police said.

The crowd broke through an entry door at about 6 a.m. to gain access to the mall and lined up outside the Foot Locker and Champs stores where the prized shoes were to be sold, San Leandro police Lt. Jeff Tudor said.

However, Foot Locker management decided that the situation was too dangerous and didn't open its store, Tudor said.

The situation was so intense that San Leandro police requested and received assistance from the Alameda County Sheriff's Office to help with crowd control, Tudor said.

The crowds finally left the mall after being given numerous commands to disperse, he said.

No arrests were made and no physical force was used, according to Tudor.

He said the situation at the mall, which is located at 15555 E. 14th St. in San Leandro, has now calmed down and stores have opened and are operating smoothly.

There have been other reports of frenzied crowds at stores across the country where the Air Jordan shoes are being sold.

A shot was fired at the Hilltop Mall in Richmond shortly before 7 a.m. Friday as more than 1,000 shoppers waited outside for a chance to buy the shoes., a police lieutenant said.

Police have arrested a 24-year-old Richmond man who allegedly fired the shot, apparently accidentally, at 6:54 a.m. while among the large crowd of shoppers outside a mall entrance near Walmart, Lt. Lori Curran said.

Officers turned shoppers away from the mall entrances immediately after the shooting, but at least a few hundred had gathered again in front of those entrances as of 9:30 a.m., according to police.

No one was injured, and the suspect, whose name was not immediately available, remains in custody, police said.

Curran said several hundred shoppers who had been waiting for the mall to open since the early morning hours lost their chance to buy the new Air Jordans at Hilltop Mall Friday, where stores are temporarily canceling sales of the shoes.

A number of stores in the mall had planned to start selling the new shoes starting at 6 a.m.

The mall was set to reopen for regular business hours at 10 a.m.

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