Updated Friday, November 28th 2008, 2:26 PM
Police tape surrounds a Wal-Mart that was the scene of a deadly stampede.
The 34-year-old employee, a temporary maintenance worker, tried to hold back the unruly crowds just after the Valley Stream store opened at 5 a.m.
Witnesses said the surging throngs of shoppers knocked the man down. He fell and was stepped on. As he gasped for air, shoppers ran over and around him.
“He was bum-rushed by 200 people,” said Jimmy Overby, 43, a co-worker. “They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me. They took me down too…I literally had to fight people off my back.”
The unidentified victim was rushed to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 6:03 a.m., police said.
The cause of death wasn’t immediately available pending results of an autopsy.
A 28-year-old pregnant woman was knocked to the floor during the mad rush. She was hospitalized for observation, police said. Early witness accounts that the woman suffered a miscarriage were unfounded, police said.
Three other shoppers suffered minor injuries, cops said.
Wal-Mart spokesman Dave Tovar called the incident a “tragic situation.”
“The safety and security of our customers and associates is our top priority,” Tovar said.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families at this difficult time.”
Before police shut down the store, eager shoppers streamed past emergency crews as they worked furiously to save the store clerk’s life.
“They were working on him, but you could see he was dead, said Halcyon Alexander, 29. “People were still coming through.”
Only a few stopped.
“They’re savages,” said shopper Kimberly Cribbs, 27. “It’s sad. It’s terrible.”