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Black Friday shopping chaos, violence surfaces across U.S.

It's that time of year again! Holiday shopping season was in full swing Friday — and so was all the mayhem, chaos and even violence that have become synonymous with the words "Black Friday."

At least a dozen retail chains, including Gap, Target and Macy's, got an early start to the shopping madness this year by opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day. (Via ABC)

But that still didn't stop several reported, ahem, incidents from popping up at stores around the country.

We first take you to Chicago, where a driver who police believe was involved in a shoplifting scheme caused a major ruckus in a Kohl's parking lot. (Via Chicago Sun-Times)

It all started around 10 p.m. Thursday when police say they were informed of a theft in progress inside the store. Officers waited outside and soon saw two suspects wheeling a shopping cart toward a black SUV outside. (Via WTAE)

One officer reportedly went over to the vehicle to investigate, and what happened next was anything but routine.

"There was a struggle and the officer was partially caught in the car and dragged by it. A second officer fired a shot, hitting him in the shoulder." (Via WFOR)

Both the driver and officer were taken to a local hospital with non life-threatening injuries. The driver is now in police custody.

Speaking of gunshots, a customer at a Las Vegas Target was reportedly shot in the leg while walking to his apartment complex with a brand new big screen TV. (Via KOVR)

Police told KLAS the victim was headed home with the TV when a suspect approached him and fired a warning shot. The victim dropped the box, and the suspect took it to a car waiting nearby.

Officers say the victim then approached the car and tried to get the TV back, so the suspect fired several more rounds — but this time, the victim was hit in the leg. He was taken to the hospital but is expected to be okay.

And another police officer was reportedly injured while trying to break up a Black Friday scuffle at a Wal-Mart in Southern California. (Via KNBC)

According to authorities, the fight broke out after the store manager decided to open up early and shoppers tried to cut in front of others in line. Fortunately, the officer involved only suffered a minor unknown injury. (Via San Bernardino County Sun)

And there have been plenty of photos of other Black Friday tiffs posted online, even inspiring the Twitter hashtag #WalmartFights. That trended off an on Friday morning, by the way.

Like these guys, who look like they got into it while leaving a Wal-Mart. (Via Twitter / @CassandraRules)

And these frantic people pushing and shoving over what the video's poster says was a TV. Yikes. (Via YouTube / Blackhawk715)

Yeeeah. It's probably because of all this more Americans are choosing to do their Black Friday shopping from the comfort of their own homes. (Via CNN Money)

A Gallup poll found that 53 percent of shoppers planned to make their purchases online this year — the highest number since the company began asking the question in 1998.

- See more at Newsy.com

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  • Polk County Sheriff Johnny Moats isn’t naming names, but the six inmates who rescued an officer during a work detail last Friday will serve reduced sentences. Many of the six men who rushed to help the officer who’d passed out in the afternoon heat haven’t even been sentenced yet, Moats told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “If I’m in court when they go, I would stand up and let them know what they did,” Moats said. MORE: 6 inmates save officer who passed out during work detail After the officer collapsed, one of the inmates grabbed the man’s work phone and called 911, according to the sheriff's office. The inmates also took off the man’s outer carrier vest in an attempt to help cool him off.  Moats said prisoners in Polk County jail already earn two days time served for every day they spend in the county jail. Those who volunteer for work detail earn three days for every one. Moats said he would give these men credit for four days for every one served.  “I can’t do that if they are sentenced to prison,” Moats said. It’s what is traditionally called “time off for good behavior” and applied to any future sentence.   In other news:
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In a statement, Capitol Police say the protesters 'removed themselves from their wheelchairs and lay themselves on the floor, obstructing passage through the hallway and into nearby offices.' Some of the protesters were yelling 'no cuts to Medicaid' as they were being led away by police. The protest came on the same day Senate Republican leaders released their version of a bill that would repeal and replace President Barack Obama's health law. The bill limits Medicaid spending. Capitol Police say those arrested were charged with crowding, obstructing or incommoding, which means inconveniencing or disturbing others. __ 3:55 p.m. Former President Barack Obama says the Senate's GOP-written health care bill will cause millions of families to lose health care coverage. The former president issued a statement on his Facebook page as Senate Republicans unveiled a plan to dismantle Obama's signature presidential achievement. 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And it would end the tax penalty Obama's statute imposes on people who don't buy insurance — in effect, ending the so-called individual mandate. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is hoping to push the measure through the Senate next week. But its fate remains uncertain. It faces uniform Democratic opposition. And at least a half-dozen Republicans — both conservatives and moderates — have complained about it. ___ 10:20 a.m. Senate Republicans are holding a private meeting to hear from leaders about their long-awaited plan for eliminating much of President Barack Obama's health law. Lobbyists and congressional aides say the Senate bill would cut Medicaid, end penalties for people not buying insurance and rescind tax increases that Obama imposed to help pay for his law's expansion of coverage. Republicans plan to make their plan public later Thursday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell developed the bill behind closed doors. The measure represents his attempt to satisfy GOP moderates and conservatives who've complained about the measure. McConnell hopes to push the measure through the Senate next week. But it remains unclear whether he will have enough votes.
  • It was a rather pleasant spring and now the first summer month too has been cooler than normal. Hot weather has not lasted more than a couple or few days so far this year. It sure saves the lawn and bushes a lot of stress and saves the watering bill and the A/C bill, so I like it. But I am sure sun tanning fans are not thrilled. It still looks like from today past the 4th of July real hot weather will continue to be hard to come by. Then odds of some heat go up if the new Weekly European Model Ensemble run is right. 1-15 Day GFS Ensemble average temperature departure from normal: End of June-early July rainfall amounts GFS Ensemble and Euro Ensemble: Hope for some drying beyond the current wet spell:      European Model the week ending July 7th: Then the model suggests more upper-level ridging which would bring warmer and drier if correct. The week ending July 14th: The model projects not dry weather in Georgia but less wet to open the new month, as the bigger rains are projected to shift north of here. None-the-less, it looks like odds for rain will be above-normal right into the start of August. So no drought and no extreme heat here. Week ending July 21st: Week ending July 28th: FOLLOW me on Twitter @MellishMeterWSB
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