Black Friday: Shoppers grab deals early, support Beavercreek Walmart after attack

Shoppers hit the streets early Friday to take advantage of Black Friday deals, including at the Beavercreek Walmart, which reopened Friday after a gunman shot and injured four people Monday before dying of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

“I like showing my support for the store. It’s not the store’s fault what happened,” said Tim Hunley of Dayton, who said he wasn’t worried about being at the Beavercreek Walmart on Friday.

“It is very sad what happened.”

Multiple law enforcement officers stood watch outside the store before it reopened at 6 a.m. Friday, including two sheriff’s deputies and three police cruisers.

“It’s not Walmart’s fault,” said Ann Bryant of Dayton.

At 8:35 p.m. Monday, a gunman entered the Walmart at 3360 Pentagon Blvd. and began shooting. Four people were transported to area hospitals for treatment. The shooter, later identified as 20-year-old Benjamin Charles Jones of Dayton, died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to police.

The shootings “may have been at least partially inspired by Racially Motivated Violent Extremist (RMVE) ideology,” the FBI and Beavercreek police said Wednesday. They said that conclusion was “based on evidence collected, including journal writings from the attacker.”

The victims injured during the attack included a white female, two Black females, and a white male, according to police.

On Friday, shoppers said they couldn’t live in fear of shopping there again.

“It can happen anywhere,” said Barbara Lowe of Dayton.

Lowe was in the parking lot when the shooting took place on Monday evening, saying the scene was chaos. Everybody was trying to get out of the parking lot when she got there, she said.

“I just turned around and went back home,” Lowe said.

Shoppers were still cautious, some said. The Beavercreek Walmart was a place where many of them shopped regularly, so they were looking to return to that routine.

“(I’m) nervous, but I’m here,” said Lynn Egnor of Dayton.

Deanna Shirk of Enon was shocked by the Monday night shooting, but it did not deter her from shopping there, she said.

“We were a little cautious, but it just makes you on higher alert, paying more attention to other people. But we’re here,” Shirk said.

Kennedy Brokaw of the Cincinnati area, who was at the Beavercreek Walmart on Friday with Shirk, had a friend who had been in the store just prior to the Monday night shooting.

“They had left right before it happened,” Brokaw said.

“It just makes you think, ‘What if I had stayed a couple more minutes?’ ” Shirk said.

While people were focused on returning to their normal shopping patterns at the Beavercreek Walmart and showing their support for the store, other consumers were out at stores early Friday morning seeking holiday deals from various stores in the Dayton region.

More than 100 shoppers were lined up around the Cabela’s in Centerville before the store opened at 5 a.m. Cabela’s specializes in hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation merchandise.

At participating Cabela’s stores, the first 250 shoppers would also get a mystery gift card valid for use during the month of December. This brought out a number of shoppers, including David Beeler and Davis Bowser of Centerville.

“We just saw it on TikTok,” Bowser said.

They don’t usually come out for Black Friday shopping, but others at Cabela’s said they are out every year.

“It’s a tradition,” said Dottie Burks of Moraine, who said she was out at Cabela’s for her kids.

Burks and her family plan where to go shopping before heading out for Black Friday deals each year.

“It’s changed a lot since COVID, and since we don’t have any young kids anymore, you’re not trying to get your hot toy ticket item,” Burks said. “But we’ve done it every year since I can remember.”

Dayton is projected to experience a slight decrease of 0.8% in holiday shopping this year over 2022, a researcher from the University of Cincinnati Economic Center said.

Statewide, researchers are anticipating a 0.7% increase in holiday spending over last year. Approximately $32.2 billion is expected to be spent statewide in 2023 during the October to December holiday season, according to the UC Economic Center’s forecast. This compares to nearly $32 billion in holiday relevant retail revenues during the 2022 holiday season.

Nationally, holiday spending is projected to reach record highs in November and December, the National Retail Federation said. Spending is expected to increase between 3% and 4% over 2022 to between $957.3 billion and $966.6 billion.

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