DeKalb County police are investigating the death of a man suspected of shoplifting after three Walmart employee reportedly wrestled him to the ground and placed him in a choke hold.
WSB-TV obtained a police report that indicated that that two employees and a security guard attempted to physically detain a man in the parking lot of a Walmart in Lithonia, Georgia because he was seen leaving the store early Sunday morning without paying for two DVD players.
"When police arrived, they found the employees on top of the man," according to the station. "The officer put the man in handcuffs and said he noticed there was no resistance from him."
"The officer had the employees get off the man, and noticed the man was unresponsive and bleeding from his nose and mouth."
The suspect was taken to DeKalb Medical-Hillandale Hospital and later pronounced dead. An autopsy will attempt to determine if a choke hold allegedly performed by one employee contributed to his death.
WXIA reported that the two Walmart employees had been place on paid leave and the security guard was no longer working for the company.
"This is truly a sad situation," Walmart spokesperson Dianna Gee said in a statement. "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."
Gee promised that Walmart would take the "appropriate action at the appropriate time" if an investigation determined the employees did not follow company policy.