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- Updated at 6:34 a.m.
A woman wildly pepper-sprayed customers dashing for doorbuster bargains inside the Porter Ranch Wal-Mart Thursday night just 10 minutes after the store opened.
A fleeing victim cried "My eyes, my eyes," according to a witness sending a Twitter message. The fight was reportedly over an Xbox 360 video game.
"This was customer-versus-customer 'shopping rage,'" Los Angeles Police Lt. Abel Parga told the Los Angeles Times.
And the LAPD expects to release a photo of the suspect to the media very soon, a police sergeant said.
"It generally takes a day or two to coordinate with Wal-Mart Security'' to get video footage shot around a store, said Sgt. A.J. De Bellis at the Devonshire police station.
Los Angeles firefighters were called to aid 20 injured customers, LAFD spokesman Shawn Lenske said. Injuries were minor, he said.
As for charges, "at the very least, it's battery,'' De Bellis said, "a minimum of one charge per involved person. Not a very bright thing (for her) to have done.''
"A woman with two children in tow became upset with the way people were pushing in line. (A) witness said she pulled out pepper spray and sprayed the other people in line," NBC4 reported.
"The female suspect was waiting with other shoppers for some items
wrapped in plastic to be released for sale at 10 p.m.,'' Officer P. Rimkunas told City News Service. "At 10, when the plastic was ripped off, she sprayed.''
"The woman, who is still being sought, used the spray in more than one area of the Wal-Mart 'to gain preferred access to a variety of locations in the store,'" Los Angeles Fire Capt. James Carson told the Los Angeles Times.
"She was competitive shopping," he said.
Although a crowd in the thousands mobbed Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Toys-R-Us at the Porter Ranch Town Center, lines were orderly outside the stores as early Christmas shopping began. While the shopping day is traditionally known as Black Friday, stores opened late Thursday instead. Toys-R-Us opened at 9 p.m. Wal-Mart opened at 10 p.m.
"It was an unhappy customer," who spritzed pepper spray at 10:10 p.m., said Parga, at the LAPD Devonshire Station. The suspect then fled the store.
Parga said only one person needed to be transported to a hospital for treatment.
One section of the store was cleared while victims were treated and the pepper spray dissipated, Parga said. Meanwhile, the store remained open and shopping continued.
Sergeant De Bellis said he expects the Wal-Mart video to be clear enough to help
identify the suspect. "Eventually this will catch up with her,'' he said.
Studio City Patch and City News Service contributed to this report.