LAKELAND (FOX 13) - Lakeland police are now retracting their earlier statement that the death of a shoplifting suspect at a Walmart store Sunday morning was a homicide. Meanwhile, we're learning the store employees involved in the incident have been suspended.
Investigators say Kenneth Wisham, 64, was shoplifting $380 worth of DVDs from the store when he was confronted by employees. He took off running, eventually falling to the ground and being detained by the workers, police said. At that point, the workers realized he'd stopped breathing.
The employees, police, and EMS tried to resuscitate Wisham, but he died at the hospital 12 hours later.
Police said earlier that an autopsy had revealed Wisham did not die as a result of any medical condition. They added that detectives with the department's Violent Crimes Unit were investigating his death as a homicide.
Now, they say they will wait for the medical examiner's full report.
Meanwhile this afternoon, Walmart issued the following statement:
"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."
Detectives want to speak to anyone who may have witnessed the incident. They're asked to call Det. Stacy Pough at 863-834-8978.