COVINA, Calif. — Police say a man suspected of shoplifting at a Southern California Walmart died after being detained by the store’s security team.
The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports that the bizzare incident took place shortly before 1pm on Friday at the Walmarter Supercenter in Covina.
Deputy Peter Gomez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Headquarter’s Bureau recapped the tragedy to the Tribune:
“While being detained in the parking lot, the suspect began fighting with the loss prevention personnel,” Gomez said.
“When the (police) officers arrived, the suspect was being restrained by loss prevention officers. The Covina police officers saw the suspect appeared to be in medical distress and called for paramedics to respond.”
The unidentified shoplifter was then taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
According to the Washington Post, he had been accused of stealing clothing and body wash.
In light of the tragedy, Wal-Mart Stores spokeswoman Dianna Gee says the security personnel involved in the altercation have been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation that will include surveillance video and an autopsy to determine the victim’s cause of death.
It remains unknown why the store’s security team did not notify paramedics.