Black Friday shopper at Huntington Mall dies in bathroom of apparent drug overdose

Published: Dec. 4, 2017 at 5:42 PM EST
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Black Friday, a day dedicated to shopping, has a different meaning for one local family. It's the dark day their loved one went to shop at the Huntington Mall but never made it out of the bathroom, dead of an apparent drug overdose.

Barboursville police believe it's the first fatal overdose inside the mall -- but they and shoppers tell us they are not surprised.

"Most of the addicts aren't shooting up for a high,” said Barboursville Police Det. Greg Lucas. “They're shooting up to survive."

Detectives said if you or your kids come across one of these situations, you may have to fight your instincts.

"Nothing surprises us anymore because we see this so often and that's sad," Lucas said.

Police say a 35-year-old man from Kentucky walked into the mall around 6 a.m. on Nov. 24, shopping flyer in hand, dropped off by a female friend. His first stop was a department store bathroom.

Lucas says he was found dead in a stall by a custodian around 6:20. He was given naloxone by emergency responders, but it had no effect.

"It's as if you and I were taking aspirin in the morning before we went shopping. It's become that sad."

For frequent shoppers at the Huntington Mall like Mary Summerfield, a fatal overdose there is not a surprise.

"They're everywhere, and it's a shame."

"It's terrible,” added shopper Bea Sexton. “It's a widespread epidemic. It's really sad."

Police say while a fatality at 6 a.m. is unusual, one in a public bathroom is not, ironically because of its relative privacy.

Lucas said because some drugs are lethal even to the touch, if you come across someone you believe has overdosed, especially if you're alone, call 911 and don't approach even to administer CPR in case you're overcome.

Shoppers wish there was a way to stop the drug problem, but say tell us this latest overdose won't stop their shopping.

"It's everywhere,” Sexton said. “It's really sad."

"We come here a lot and I don't see any reason not to come,” Summerfield added.

While police say all evidence points to a drug overdose, they won't know for sure until autopsy results come back. But that may not be for another two to three months.

Police are not releasing the man's name, but do say he leaves behind a 4-year-old daughter.

The department store involved declined comment.