Skip to main content

No felony charges for Black Friday pepper spray suspect

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 5:37 AM EST, Fri December 9, 2011
"I saw people around me, they got it really bad," said one person who was shopping when the incident occurred.
  • Ten Black Friday shoppers were pepper-sprayed in a California Walmart
  • The incident at a Walmart made national headlines
  • "It was burning. I saw people around me, they got it really bad," shopper says

Los Angeles (CNN) -- A southern California woman accused of pepper-spraying video-game shoppers in a Walmart on Black Friday will not face felony charges, prosecutors said.

"We have reviewed the evidence, and made the determination that it did not rise to the level of a felony filing. We referred the case to the City Attorney's office for consideration of misdemeanor charges," said Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office Thursday.

The incident at a Walmart in the neighborhood of Porter Ranch made national headlines.

Elizabeth Macias, 32, is accused of dousing fellow shoppers with the irritant as people were grabbing for Xbox video game consoles, police said.

Pepper-spraying suspect turns self in
Pepper-spraying: Right or wrong?

One witness to the incident, Juan Castro, said he and other shoppers were hunting for deals when a woman began using pepper spray. He was trying to buy a Wii video game at $20, marked down from a typical $60, he said.

"I got it in my throat. It was burning. I saw people around me, they got it really bad. Some woman was crying, 'My eyes, my eyes,'" Castro said.

Firefighters had to treat 10 people for exposure to the pepper spray.

Macias was able to pay for her purchases and leave the store before police arrived. She later surrendered to authorities.

CNN's Sandra Endo and Michael Cary contributed to this report