RICHMOND -- The release of Nike's new Air Jordan basketball shoes caused a frenzy at stores across the nation early Friday, including in the Bay Area, where a shot was fired at a Richmond mall and two arrests were made in Fairfield.
Crowds waiting for hours to buy Air Jordan shoes this morning at Hilltop Mall in Richmond were turned away after a shot was fired shortly before 7 a.m.
No injuries were reported, and a suspect is in custody, according to Richmond police.
Several shoe stores at the Richmond mall were going to sell the new Air Jordan Retro XI Concord starting at 6 a.m. Between 1,500 to 2,000 customers started gathering at the mall overnight, said Richmond Police Lt Lori Curran.
Policewere on hand to make sure the line was orderly, but at 6:54 a.m., officers heard a shot and saw a man duck between two cars. Police arrested the suspect, a 24-year-old Richmond man, who was carrying a handgun.
"It appears at this point that it was simply a negligent discharge of a firearm," Curran said.
The mall suspended sale of the shoe today and reopened all stores for normal business at 10 a.m.
Shondra Davis, of Richmond, braved chilly temperatures to wait for the $180 shoes, which she wanted to get for her 13-year-old son for Christmas.
She said there was a lot of shoving and pushing after the mall started letting people in, and after a few customers got shoes, the mall said they were closing down. She heard one
Davis said she is angry that the mall let things get out of hand.
"It was really disorganized, they needed to do something. I was cold, everyone was cold, they just had us standing out here since 4 a.m."
At Bayfair Mall in San Leandro, officials temporarily shut down the mall after impatient shoppers began forcing their way in.
Bayfair security opened the doors about 6 a.m. for shoppers who had waited in line for hours for Air Jordan shoes. But the crowd was so unruly, Foot Locker store managers inside the mall refused to open the store.
Alameda County Sheriff's Office deputies assisted San Leandro police and numerous orders to disperse were announced. It took some time, but the crowd complied and dispersed. The mall was closed. No injuries were reported. No arrests were made.
Two adults were arrested were in Fairfield after the Air Jordan release drew nearly 1,000 people to the Westfield Solano shopping mall Friday morning.
The arrests came after crowds tried to shove and push each other to get in position to buy a pair of the shoes, Fairfield Police Lt. Joe Allio said.
One man was arrested for shoving a fellow customer while the other was arrested for shoving a police officer, Allio said, adding no other details were immediately available.
Seven or eight stores inside the mall were selling an estimated 180 pairs of the coveted shoes which drew a crowd of more than 1,000 for a chance to buy them, Allio said. Police dispersed crowds first at midnight and then at 3 a.m.
At 5 a.m., people returned and formed two lines to await the 7 a.m. mall opening, he said.
Then about 6 a.m. people at the upper floor entrance pushed against the door and busted their way and started running toward the stores selling the sneakers, Allio said.
The people at the lower entrance got upset, so mall security officers opened that entrance to allow them inside.
Fairfield police called for mutual aid. Personnel from the Suisun Police Department, California Highway Patrol and Solano Sheriff's Department responded, including a helicopter.
Gilroy police were called out about 6:30 a.m. Friday to the popular outlet mall, after security there needed some help with the crowd, said Cpl. Paco Rodriguez.
"The crowd wasn't being respectful," he said. "We asked them to leave and come back at 7 a.m., which they did. We got everything squared away."
On Black Friday, employees at the Foot Locker in San Mateo had some foresight as to the popularity of the shoes. They managed the crowd with a one-customer in, one-customer policy for those waiting in line to buy the new Michael Jordan shoes.
Shoppers covet the shoes both because of nostalgia and their resale value. The shoes are a remake of Air Jordans released in 1996, the year the Chicago Bulls went 72-10 during the regular season and won their fourth NBA championship with Michael Jordan.
Jordan also wore the shoes in the movie "Space Jam," which hit theaters the same year.
The remakes retail for about $175. But pairs were selling Friday morning on eBay with bidding prices exceeding $500.
Milpitas police were called to the Finish Line store at the Great Mall this morning to respond to a large crowd that had gathered in hopes of buying a pair of Air Jordans. Not everyone who gathered outside the store was able to purchase the shoes, and some customers became upset and loud, according to Milpitas police Sgt. Tim Campbell.
Once customers got the shoes, the crowd dispersed, Campbell said. There was no pushing or shoving taking place within the crowd, Campbell said.
The shoes sparked violence in Seattle, where police reportedly used pepper spray to break up fights among shoe buyers who pushed and shoved outside a Seattle area mall to pick up some of the first Nike retro Air Jordans that went on sale early Friday.
Seattle TV stations report hundreds of customers had been waiting for hours outside the Westfield Southcenter mall and police were on hand to control disputes that broke out over line-cutting or pushing.
Hundreds of customers also lined up for hours outside stores in downtown Seattle and a mall in Federal Way.
One buyer walking away with the shoes told KING-TV it's a classic style and the shoes that retail for $180 are selling for $400 on the Internet.
At least four people were arrested in a mad dash by customers hoping to buy the shoes at a suburban Atlanta mall.
DeKalb County police told Fox 5 Atlanta that up to 20 squad cars responded to a mall in Lithonia early Friday. They said a large crowd broke down a door to get inside before a store opened.
Police said they escorted most of the people outside but took four into custody.
Officers said they had to break a car window to get two toddlers out after a woman went in after the shoes. They said she was taken into custody when she returned to the car.
It's not the first time the Nikes have caused an uproar. Some people were mugged or even killed for early versions of the Air Jordan shoe, which Nike Inc. created in 1985.
The shoe has been a consistent hit since then with sneaker fans. A new edition was launched each year, and release dates had to be moved to the weekends at some points to keep kids from skipping school to get a pair.
No one anticipated the hysteria around the original Air Jordan, which spawned a subculture of collectors willing to wait hours to buy the latest pair. But the shopping frenzy over the shoe had died down in recent years.
Staff writers Chris De Benedetti, Lisa Fernandez, Sarah Rohrs and wire services contributed to this report.