At least three people were hospitalized and others suffered irritated eyes when someone released pepper spray at a Toys R Us store during the busy holiday shopping weekend, police said.
Police were reviewing video to find out who discharged the spray inside an elevator at the toy chain's Times Square store at about 3:10 p.m. Saturday.
"I immediately could not breathe, and I said 'I have to get out of here 'cause I'm choking,' but there were so many people behind me that I couldn't get out," shopper Teresa Cassello told WNBC.
Firefighter Kevin Nolan said five people were taken to St. Vincent's Hospital and 17 others were treated at the scene or refused medical attention.
Susan McLaughlin, a spokeswoman for Toys R Us, said the incident was under investigation.
Within a few hours, the store was packed with shoppers who were unaware of the incident. The 110,000-square-foot store, which opened in November 2001, features a 60-foot indoor Ferris wheel.