Trampled Wal-Mart worker had helped pregnant woman

Jan. 27, 2009
Retail employee reportedly heroic before losing his life in crowd frenzy

Jan. 24--The family of Jdimytai Damour, the Wal-Mart employee killed in a shopper stampede at a Wal-Mart in November, found some comfort knowing that he died helping another, their attorney said Friday.

A South Jamaica woman who was five months pregnant at the time of the Black Friday stampede at the Valley Stream store recently spoke out crediting Damour, 34, with saving her life and that of her unborn daughter.

"The family takes some measure of solace that at the end of his life, he was helping someone else," said Andrew Libo, a Manhattan attorney representing Damour's family. "It doesn't surprise them. He was always looking out for other people."

Leana Lockley, 28, said she did not know where she could contact Damour's family, who live in Jamaica, but she said: "I would like to give my condolences to them on the death of their son and my appreciation in him saving my life ... and also the life of my daughter."

Lockley's attorney, David Sloan of Hicksville, has said that Wal-Mart failed to provide proper crowd control, and they are preparing a lawsuit against the store. Libo said the Damour family also is planning a suit against Wal-Mart, the security firm and Green Acres Mall.

If Lockley files suit against Wal-Mart, she will not be the first to do so. Last month, Emmanuel Moultrie, of Jamaica, Queens, filed suit saying store managers ignored dangerous conditions, according to Moultrie's attorney, Ken Mollins of Melville.

Another attorney, Bruce Baron of Brooklyn, also filed lawsuits on behalf of two people: Theresa Sgro, who says her 14-year-old daughter suffered fractures in the stampede, and Jennifer Jones, who Baron said suffered neurological damage.

A Wal-Mart spokeswoman declined to discuss the incident Friday, but Wal-Mart officials have maintained it is working closely with law enforcement and government officials to put crowd security measures in place.

Lockley said she arrived at the store at 1 a.m. with her husband, Shawn, and two other family members. She said the crowd swelled to more than 2,000 when the store opened at 5 a.m.

She said she tried to pick up an older lady who fell, and she ended up falling to her knees. She said she could see Damour trying to push people back.

"I was screaming that I was pregnant, I am sure he heard that. ... He was trying to block the people from pushing me down to the ground and trampling me," said Lockley, a nursing student at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City.

"Mr. Damour was to the right of me, he was on his knees. I could look at him eye to eye, and he was trying to push them back, and the crowd pushed him down, and he fell on top of me."

Eventually her husband was able to pull her out and free her.

She was taken to the hospital and treated for injuries. Doctors also examined the fetus, which appeared to be OK.

Lockley said she suffers from back and neck pain and eye problems, and also has insomnia.

Representatives from the Wal-Mart store did send her some baby items about two weeks later, along with a card that read: "May angels carry your little one through life upon their wings."

Staff writers Sophia Chang and Ann Givens contributed to this story.

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