Alleged Ga. shoplifter dies while subdued

Nov. 25, 2012 at 9:48 PM
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LITHONIA, Ga., Nov. 25 (UPI) -- A suspected shoplifter died outside a Walmart store in Georgia Sunday after being subdued by two employees and a contract security guard, police said.

A Walmart spokeswoman said the two employees were placed on leave with pay pending the outcome of the investigation into the unidentified victim's death and the security officer, who the initial investigation indicated put a choke hold on the suspect, will no longer work for Walmart, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

"No amount of merchandise is worth someone's life," Walmart spokeswoman Dianna Gee said in a statement. "Associates are trained to disengage from situations that would put themselves or others at risk."

DeKalb police said the suspect, who appeared to be middle age, allegedly took two DVD players out the front door of the store about 1:30 a.m. and was confronted by the two employees and security officer in the parking lot. The police report stated a "physical altercation" took place with officers finding the trio on top of the man when they arrived on the scene, the newspaper said.

An officer who handcuffed the suspect unresponsive and bleeding from his nose and mouth. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

"This is truly a sad situation," Gee said. "We don't know all of the facts right now. We're in the process of working with law enforcement to determine all of the facts, and cooperating and providing any information we have to assist in the investigation."

The DeKalb Medical Examiner's office was to determine the cause and manner of death, the newspaper said.

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