Once at the store, first responders found an unresponsive man later identified as 23-year-old Diamond Steen.
Medics performed life-saving measures on Steen, but he was pronounced dead at the scene, officials said.
Police said store employees suspected Steen and another person were shoplifting vehicle maintenance fluid from the store, so they confronted them.
The situation turned violent, with the employees reportedly overpowering the two men and holding them down outside the store, WDAF-TV reported.
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Authorities said Steen’s death was ruled a homicide caused by strangulation. In a press conference, Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree said Steen’s “airway was completely stopped,” WDAF-TV reported.
The second individual was hospitalized with minor injuries, police said.
During the press conference, Dupree announced a second-degree murder charge against 39-year-old Carl Kemppainen, the manager of the auto parts store, in connection with the death of the alleged shoplifter.
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Dupree also urged the public to not take justice into their own hands, saying, “Make no mistake, it is law enforcement’s job to do the policing, no one else’s,” according to WDAF-TV.
Authorities said charges may also be filed against others involved in the incident. Meanwhile, Kemppainen is free on a $125,000 bond.
In a statement to WDAF-TV, O’Reilly Auto Parts said, “O’Reilly Auto Parts is deeply disturbed by the events, death and injuries that occurred at our store in Kansas City, Kansas. We are cooperating fully with the police investigation.”
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