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Suspected shoplifter dies after being detained at California Walmart

A suspected shoplifter died at a Southern California Walmart store last Friday after fighting with store security workers who caught him in the parking lot, police said.

The man's name was not available as of Sunday because his family had yet to be notified, Lt. Joe Bale of the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

Police found the suspect restrained by security workers and appearing to need medical attention, Covina police Lt. Holly Francisco told The Associated Press.


"While being detained in the parking lot, the suspect began fighting with the loss prevention personnel," Deputy Peter Gomez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's bureau said in a written statement obtained by the Tribune.

"When the (police) officers arrived, the suspect was being restrained by loss prevention officers," Gomez said, according to the report. "The Covina police officers saw the suspect appeared to be in medical distress and called for paramedics to respond."

Police called paramedics, but the man was pronounced dead at the hospital. It was unclear whether his death was a result of the struggle or due to a pre-existent condition.

Police told the AP the man was accused of stealing clothing and body wash. An investigation that includes an autopsy and a review of surveillance video is under way to determine the cause of death.

Wal-Mart Stores spokeswoman Dianna Gee said in a statement that the security workers involved in the altercation are currently suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.

“Any time there’s a loss of life, it’s a sad situation," Gee's statement read. "We don’t know all of the facts right now, but we are cooperating with law enforcement and providing any information we have to assist in the investigation."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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