Two armed thugs tried to rob a line of people waiting for the new Playstation 3 game system to go on sale early Friday and shot a man who refused to give up his money, authorities said.
In other states, customers pushed and shoved their way to the shelves to get at the limited supply, and in Kentucky, four people were grazed by BBs fired from a passing vehicle as they waited for a Best Buy store to open.
The two gunman in Putnam confronted 15 to 20 people standing outside a Wal-Mart store shortly after 3 a.m. and demanded money, said State Police Lt. J. Paul Vance.
"One of the patrons resisted. That patron was shot," Vance said.
He said the two gunmen fled after shooting a 21-year-old Massachusetts man in the chest and shoulder. The victim was taken to University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester. There was no immediate word on his condition.
Vance said police were searching for the suspects, both believed to be in their teens. He said one was wearing a ski mask and brandishing a handgun, and the other had what appeared to be a shotgun.
Aside from the police tape, things had returned to normal by midmorning at the Wal-Mart store in rural Putnam, a town of about 9,000 residents near the Massachusetts and Rhode Island borders.
Short supplies of the PS3 and strong demand led to lines of buyers, some waiting for days, outside stores across the country.
In Palmdale, Calif., authorities shut down a Super Wal-Mart after some shoppers got rowdy late Wednesday. In West Bend, Wis., a 19-year-old man was injured when he ran into a pole racing with 50 others for one of 10 spots outside a Wal-Mart.
In Lexington, Ky., someone fired BB pellets from a passing vehicle at people waiting outside a Best Buy store, according to WKYT, whose own reporter said she was among four people grazed while she interviewed buyers in line.
A Best Buy in Boston, aware it had only 140 of the consoles, got smart about the big sale - its employees gave out tickets to the first 140 people in line so everyone could go home until the store opened.