By NBC News and msnbc.com staff
Family and friends were stunned by the loss of a West Virginia man who died while shopping on Black Friday as fellow bargain hunters reportedly walked around — and even over — the man’s body.
Family members told WSAZ-TV that 61-year-old Walter Vance of Logan County, W. Va., had become ill and collapsed while shopping for Christmas decorations inside Target in South Charleston. He later died after being taken to the hospital, family said.
Witnesses told the NBC News affiliate in Charleston, W. Wa., that shoppers walked around and even over Vance’s body.
"Where is the good Samaritan side of people?” Vance’s co-worker and friend Sue Compton told WSAZ. “How could you not notice someone was in trouble? I just don't understand if people didn't help what their reason was, other than greed because of a sale."
Vance had joined in the crowded frenzy of deal seekers at Target shortly after midnight on Friday. He had been searching for holiday odds and ends to complete his display at his newly remodeled workplace at Aracoma Drug Company store in Chapman, co-worker Annette Fortune told msnbc.com on Saturday.
“He was so excited about Christmas this year, he wanted everyone to enjoy the holiday he loved so much,” Fortune said.
Vance had been working at the Aracoma Drug Company store since he was 16 and later became its co-owner in the 1970s.
Friends say Vance had been suffering from heart problems for years and had open heart surgery in 2000, but his death came as a shock.
An E.R. nurse who also happened to be shopping at the store tried to administer CPR. She and an off-duty paramedic tried to help Vance while he was on the floor.
“The world lost a wonderful angel,” co-worker Beth Wright told msnbc.com, adding: “We lost our best friend and our best boss.”
Efforts by WSAZ and msnbc.com to reach Target for a statement was unsuccessful.
The traditional start of the holiday gift shopping frenzy known as Black Friday was welcomed by retailers, but there were reports of scuffles, fist-fits and even gunfire as bargain hunters clashed. NBC News' Kristen Dahlgren reports.