Police initially said that the man’s death was being investigated as a homicide, but now just say that it’s still under investigation. Walmart suspended the employees involved in the incident, which is their normal policy.
Local news reported that while the man tried to flee, he tripped––his pants may have fallen down––and fell to the ground, and the Walmart employees realized that he had stopped breathing. Police were already on the way, and the employees and first responders began CPR. He officially died at the hospital later that day.
The police are looking for more witnesses to the crime and the chase to figure out what happened. The medical examiner ruled that the man didn’t die due to a medical condition, but didn’t release any information about what injuries he had or rule on the cause of death.
In a statement, Walmart said:
Our condolences go out to the family. We are working with police as part of an ongoing investigation and performing a review of our own. All associates involved in this incident have been suspended pending the investigation as we continue to learn all of the details.
Lakeland police back off calling shoplifting suspect’s death a homicide [Tampa Tribune]
Walmart employees suspended after suspect’s death [Fox 13]
Lakeland Walmart shoplifter chased by employees dies; cause of death being investigated [WPTV] (warning: auto-play video)