Early morning shoppers at Beaumont’s Wal-Mart say they were pepper sprayed by an off-duty police officer working security as a large crowd gathered in the electronics department of the store. “There were some people trying to break thru the crowds because they were throwing up, and couldn`t breathe,” said one shopper, Andrenette Davis, “It was pretty bad.” The incident took place on what is often called “Black Friday,” a day retailers open their doors early to hundreds, sometimes thousands, looking for early holiday bargains. Numerous customers inside the store at the time tell KBTV the crowd gathered in the electronics department and some customers began shoving others. Witnesses say a Beaumont police officer - identified by the Beaumont Police Department as Officer Avie Ownby - told the crowd to back up. They say the officer then pulled out his can of pepper spray and sprayed it into the crowd. Sergeant Dean Crooks with the Beaumont Police Department tells KBTV they are investigating the incident, but that they investigate any incident where an officer uses force. He says Officer Ownby is a 20 year veteran of the force. According to those inside the store, the pepper spray hit adults and children and several employees. One woman says she fell and chipped her tooth on the ground. “It has no harmful effects,” said Sergeant Mike Earney of the Beaumont Police Department, “it focuses your attention from being aggressive to wanting to take care of the problem on yourself.” Several of the customers received medical attention by EMS in the parking lot. None were taken by ambulance to hospitals, but several of the customers told KBTV reporter Lydia Joseph they would drive themselves to area hospitals. KBTV contacted the store’s managers and Wal-Mart’s corporate headquarters for comment but we were told the Beaumont Police Department was handling the investigation and that there would be no comment from the company surrounding the incident.