Police say a man who allegedly shoplifted at a Walmart in Lithonia, Georgia, died after a "physical altercation" with employees. The man allegedly stole two DVD players at the Walmart around 1:30 a.m. Sunday and attempted to leave by the front door.
According to WSB-TV, two Walmart associates and a security officer detained him in the parking lot at 5401 Fairington Road.
Dekalb Police say when officers arrived at the scene, they found the employees on top of the suspect.
According to ABC News, when an officer tried to handcuff the suspect, he noticed he was not resisting and that he was bleeding from the nose and mouth. The man was transported to DeKalb Medical-Hillandale Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The Atlantic Journal Constitution reports police say investigations revealed that the suspected shoplifter was placed in a choke hold by the security officer. However, the cause of death has not been determined.
According to The Huffington Post, Walmart spokeswoman Dianna Gee, said the security officer in the incident was no longer working for Walmart and the two associates involved were suspended without pay.
ABC News reports Gee said: “Our associates are trained that the safety of our customers and our associates is our first priority. No amount of merchandise is worth someone’s life. Associates are trained to disengage from situations that would put themselves or others at risk. That being said, this is still an active investigation and we’re working with police to provide any assistance.”
According to The Huffington Post, Gee said: “This is truly a sad situation. 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."
According to WSB-TV, Dekalb County police have not released the identity of middle-aged man